By Lyes Bouzidi
- Manchester United begin campaign for 21st League title
- United won this fixture 3-0 last season
- Van Gaal has a fully-fit squad to choose from
Venue: Old Trafford Kick-Off: 12.45pm BST
Louis Van Gaal begins his second season in charge of the Red Devils with a home game against Tottenham. Van Gaal will be hoping for a better start than last season.
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford kicks off the season in a game with huge implications. Last season, both sides had relatively successful campaigns: Tottenham came fifth in a season where they were trying to fix both Villas Boas and Sherwood’s disaster, while United finished in the top 4 after a season without Champions League football.
Both team’s objectives for this year are quite different, but this match will show whether both have what it takes to improve. If Tottenham win, then they will show the rest of the league that they have what it takes to return to the Top four for the first time since 2009/10.
If United gain all three points, then surely the will show that they can challenge for the league this season. Lose, however, and another year without the title is in the balance.
Past Encounters: It used to be that United was Spurs’ bogey team, but recently, the results have been a lot more even. Last time these two sides met, it finished 3-0 to United in what many consider to be their best performance last season.
The goals came from Marouane Fellaini, Carrick, and Wayne Rooney, but the line-up used last year may well be totally different to the one we see this campaign. The first leg of this fixture had finished 0-0 at White Hart Lane, in a game where Hugo Lloris saved Tottenham from losing with some extraordinary saves.
Key Battle- David De Gea vs Hugo Lloris
Though there is doubts over both players participating in this game, with De Gea rumoured move to Real Madrid and Lloris is still recovering from a wrist injury he suffered in pre-season.
Lloris has been touted as a possible replacement for De Gea, when he finally completes his move back to Spain, should that be in the next few weeks or next summer.
Both goalkeepers will be wanting to continue their excellent form from last season, and the game will be determined by which keeper is in form.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester United. Goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Memphis Depay will be enough to keep out a Christian Eriksen strike.
Predicted Manchester United XI: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Depay, Young, Rooney