So we are the Premier League champions, but let’s face it, last year’s Premier League (compared to past seasons) was of a lesser standard, a month into the season everyone was claiming Chelsea already had it sewn up after they had destroyed several teams by 5 or more goals.
However Chelsea dramatically lost form and went through a long period without winning any matches which really hurt their title challenge as a result.
In some ways, we’ve had better seasons in the past and came runner up. But as the old saying goes: ‘you can only beat what is put in front of you’ and so that is what we did. But we cannot claim that we played a near perfect season last year, or even an excellent one. Our home form was magnificent, dropping only 2 points. Our problem last year lay with our away form.
To retain the league title we will need to beat weaker sides both home and away, I can understand us not winning away in the big matches, often a draw is a good result and then by taking all 3 points from them at Old Trafford it levels out in our favour.
However last year we started games really well away from home, often taking the lead such as against Fulham and Everton only to end up conceding late silly goals to draw. This rocked our away performances for the entire season, the players never truly got over these poor results at the start and played a more cautious style away from home.
We start the season away against Roy Hodgson’s West Brom. I believe that a convincing win here will give the players the confidence they need for several away matches afterwards.
If our home record is almost as good as last year and our away record improves dramatically from last year’s then no matter how well other teams are playing we should be able to retain the title.
However this coming year may be the hardest league to win since its creation; Chelsea under a new manager (who looks very promising) will be out to take our trophy and will be heavily motivated to do so.
Then on the other side there is Manchester City, they’ll want to build upon their FA Cup win last year and they will have the confidence and the belief to now win the league or at the very least mount a strong challenge.
Manchester Unied’s fans, players and staff should expect us to retain the league title. We have the players to do so and the manager to lead us to glory and that’s why we expect to end the season winning our 20th league title.
Now as for Europe and the Champions League, can we realistically expect us to beat Barcelona?
The honest answer that many fans I am sure will agree with me in saying is sadly No we can’t.
We have to hope on a ‘bad day’ they come up against Chelsea or perhaps Inter Milan, two teams who are equipped in the required areas to defeat Barcelona over two legs.
I do not believe Barcelona will win the Champions League next season (there’s a good chance they will though) and so therefore it is essential we do not slip up and that we just keep beating what is put in front of us until we find ourselves in another final – hopefully not against Barcelona, but if we have to play them we’re try our best never the less.
What about the FA Cup?
We haven’t won this trophy since 2004 and it would be great if we could win it for a 12th time. Yes the tournament may have lost its worth dramatically over the last decade or so, but we will have a good chance of winning it this season.
There are no doubt players like Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand who haven’t won the trophy before will desperately want to win it after several close shaves in their time at the club – as it is the trophy that every player in the country wants to win.
Our record in big games in the Cup recently has been poor, and with Wembley due to hold the Champions League final in 2 years time it is essential that we win a big match there to give the players the confidence and the belief to win there. The New Wembley curse is probably what it will be known as unless we start winning big matches there.
What about the League Cup?
Well as we all know it’s the least of our priorities. But it’s still an important competition which gives our young players a chance to prove themselves in and whether or not they have the potential to break into the first team.
Of course the majority of fans do not care about the League Cup, but as we’ve seen in recent years when we have won the competition it has given our younger players the winning feeling and that can only benefit the squad as a whole.
So to sum up, we can expect to regain our Premier League trophy and maybe win one of the domestic cups this coming season. We will also want to beat City in the Community Shield as well.
The Champions League unfortunately may just be out of reach again, although not many people would have thought we would have made the final last year, so who knows.
By Luke Joseph – @LukeJoseph1