United kick off their pre-season for the 2015/16 season overnight against Club America. Ahead of some on-pitch action to finally get excited about, we make a few predictions of what to expect…
Fewer red herrings
Remember last pre-season when we started with three at the back? Yes, it was a set up that didn’t last too long, but it was a system that Louis van Gaal took into the season.
Now, with a year’s experience and a clear control over the squad and knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses, we can surely expect that the system used in pre-season – rumoured to be 4-3-3 – will be the one we see used throughout most of the season.
United will put in some good performances, like they did last summer.
There will be moments of extreme quality shown from the new players, which, in their unfamilarity, will seem like world class morsels on which we should base expectations of European Cup glory next year. We’d call for some level heads but we’re as likely to be as giddy as anyone.
A defensive error
Will it come from David De Gea? What about Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, once a pair of pretenders to the thrones occupied by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, now thrust into the limelight of being United’s senior defenders?
That we can’t answer but we can say, sure as eggs is eggs, someone will make an error that probably leads to a goal or the concession of a penalty. Can you imagine if an error is made by Matteo Darmian? Well, at least one of the new players has to be described as a flop.
Cue frantic reports that the Reds need surgery in defence, stat. Or, worse, if De Gea saves a penalty – that they’re losing the world’s best goalkeeper.
It always happens. Lee Martin, Dong Fangzhou, Jesse Lingard, Matty James. Some unfancied squad member will score a belter of a goal, prompting more excitement. This will probably be Pereira, that’s the obvious one, though don’t rule out Lingard again.
‘He’s too good for the reserves, but not good enough for the first team yet,’ some will say. A loan to Ipswich – or, more likely, Preston – will invariably follow.
At some point in the middle of next week, Angel Di Maria’s future will come under intense scrutiny. It will become the most debated plane journey since Rachel from Friends. Will he, won’t he? We couldn’t possibly spoil that one for you.
Likewise, talk will intensify about Trans-Atlantic or Trans-Pacific journeys of other players. However (and we’re sticking our neck out here), we reckon United won’t sign anyone until we’re back in the UK, to coincide with a sparkly kit launch.