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FINALLY the English Premier League returns this weekend with great expectations placed on the big teams, the hopefulness of the elevated teams to stay in the division and the promise of new signings eager to prove their worth in the most popular football league in the world.
The match of the round this weekend is Manchester United vs. Tottenham at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils will be hoping to push for the title after some key summer signings while the Spurs will be looking to make their way into a champions league position after years languishing just outside the top-four.
Manchester United transfers and list updates
|Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton, £25m)|
|Memphis Depay (PSV, £25m)|
|Matteo Darmian (Torino, £14.4m)|
|Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich, £14m)|
|Sergio Romero (free agent)|
|Nani (Fenerbahce, £3.5m)|
|Saidy Janko (Celtic, feed to be decided)|
|Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce, undisclosed)|
|Reece James (Wigan Athletic, undisclosed)|
|Tom Cleverley (Everton, free)|
|Ben Amos (Bolton, free)|
|Tom Thorpe (Rotherham United, free)|
|Will Keane (Preston North End, loan)|
|Angel Di Maria (PSG, £43m)|
Invariably both Manchester teams are big players in the transfer market, and the red side of the city has been no exception this summer with a host of changes at Old Trafford headlined by the arrival of Dutch wonderkid Memphis Depay.
The 21-year old is a magician with the ball at his feet and displayed a goal-scoring ability from the dead ball situation that will assist the Red Devils greatly with Van Persie’s departure.
Coming with Depay is German superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger, who adds experience and ball control to an area Manchester United lacked last year and Morgan Schneiderlin, who moves over from Southamption.
On the way out is big-money flop Angel Di Maria who failed to make an impact after his big money switch from Real Madrid, Robin Van Persie who struggled with form an injury last season.
Tottenham Hotspur transfers and list updates
|Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid, £11.5m)|
|Kevin Wimmer (Cologne, £4.3m)|
|Kieran Trippier (Burnley, £3.5m)|
|Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande, £9.8m)|
|Etienne Capoue (Watford, £6m)|
|Benji Stambouli (Paris Saint-Germain, £6m)|
|Vlad Chiriches (Napoli, £4.5m)|
|Younes Kaboul (Sunderland, £3m)|
|Lewis Holtby (Hamburg, undisclosed)|
|Brad Friedel (retired)|
Not as much movement for the Spurs after their disastrous spending spree following the big money departure of Gareth Bale two years ago, with only three players brought into the Tottenham.
Tottenham snatched Toby Alderweireld from under Southampton’s noses after the Atleti defender spent last season was on loan at St Mary’s.
Spurs also took steps to sure up their sometimes shaky defence with the acquisition of Kieran Trippier from relegated Burnley.
Headlining the departures is Brazilian midfielder Paulinho who failed to make an impact after he was earmarked as one of the main men to replace Gareth Bale.
Potential starting XI’s:
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1 formation) De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Mata, Depay, Young; Rooney
With Robin Van Persie gone and no replacement yet secured, Rooney will be the sole man up forward for Man United.
Summer signings Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay should be handed starting positions in the 11, with David De Gea starting in goal.
(4-2-3-1 formation) Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Trippier; Bentaleb, Dier; Chadli, Dembele, Eriksen; Kane
Harry Kane will be the lone man up forward, with new signings Alderweireld and Tripper set to find their way into the Spurs’ defence.
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris should start in goal after proving his fitness, while Christian Eriksen will be hoping his brilliant backend form to the 2014/15 season will transfer into the new campaign.
Winner: Manchester United ($1.61)
Correct score: Man Utd 2-1 ($7.50)
First goal scorer: Wayne Rooney ($5.00)
Anytime goal scorer: Harry Kane ($3.20)
Opening game-week in the premier league is kicked off by Manchester United hosting Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
It should be an interesting matchup with both teams eager to get their campaign started the right way, with Manchester United needing a win to justify the money spent in the summer while Tottenham need a good start to push back into top-four contention.
All eyes will be on new comers for the Red Devils, with big money signings Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin likely starters, while Bastian Schweinsteiger should get his chance sometime over the course of the 90 minutes.
Tottenham will be hoping Harry Kane’s superb form from the 2014/15 season will carry over into the upcoming campaign, with the 22-year old English international now the only striker in the squad.
Traveling to Old Trafford is daunting at the best of times, but with the weight of expectation at the breathe of optimism in the Manchester air expect the Red Devils to kick off their 2015/16 season in style with a win over the Spurs.
Pre-season form guide
Manchester United: WWWWL
It was mostly positive signs for United, winning all but one of their match-ups.
Left back Luke Shaw, who was stifled through injury and form concerns last season had an impressive build up, with manager Louis van Gaal predicting the 20-year old will have an impact in the 2015/16 season.
“I think that it shall be the season of Luke Shaw, that I believe.” van Gall said.
“He’s a big talent. He’s very young so it’s not so easy for him to come from Southampton to as big a club as Manchester United. He’s only 20 years old. How many players of that age are playing in the Premier League?”
Despite not doing much in terms of player movement, Tottenham’s pre-season has been encouraging.
Newly appointed vice-captain Harry Kane has been in stellar form in the lead up to the new season, scoring four goals across the five matches and manager Mauricio Pochettino is hoping his sole front-man will be able to emulate the feats of last season where the 22-year old scored an incredible 31 goals.
“He is young, but he is very mature. He is in a very good way to become one of the best strikers in the world.” Pochettino said.
There has been a lot of talk throughout the transfer window that Manchester United have tabled an enormous bid to prise the England international away from White Hart Lane but Pochettino believes Kane is not going anywhere.
“Harry’s excited to start the season with us. Any doubts about his commitment are gone, he is delighted to stay with Tottenham.”
“He is a big supporter of the club. I think he is very happy and we are very happy he is with us.”