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Previewing United’s Games In September

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I thought it would be good at the start of every month to give my predictions on the games that Manchester United will have over the season. Here’s how I can see our games in September panning out.

Before that though, here’s a quick look at how I got on last month with my predictions, as you’re see there I got one 100% prediction there, as I correctly predicted United to beat Spurs 3-0 and rather intriguingly I was spot-on that Park Ji-Sung would score against Arsenal.

So who do United play this month, let’s have a look:

10th September – Premier League: Bolton @ The Reebok

United’s first game of the month after the International fixtures comes at Owen Coyle’s Bolton, where Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for a win to keep up United’s 100% winning start to the season.

Certainly thanks to a late Michael Owen goal, we were lucky to come away with a point from this fixture last season in which Bolton probably over the 90 minutes deserved to beat us, as we looked very vulnerable at the back to say the least.

Bolton may have lost 2 out of their first 3 games this term, but they are a side who cannot be underestimated as on their own patch, they have troubled all the top teams in recent years and been very difficult to break down at home.

United may have their work cut out here but we should have enough firepower to trouble Bolton and if Kevin Davies and Martin Petrov can be kept quiet (unlike last season) then we should fully expect an away win in this one. 3-1 to United with Rooney getting a goal.

4th September – Champions League: Benfica @ The Estadio Da Luz

Our first game in this season’s Champions League see’s a return to Portugal to face a good-looking Benfica side in their own backyard, a repeat fixture of United’s opening group-fixture five seasons ago when a Louis Saha goal proved the difference between the sides.

Despite losing talented players like David Luiz, Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao in the last year, Jorge Jesus is building a good team and certainly the signings of Axel Witsel, Ezequiel Garay and Joan Capdevilla will complement his young side well, giving them good experience this season.

Arguably the figure-head of Benfica’s side is Oscar Cardozo, who standing at almost 6’4 has the ability to win games by himself at times. He’s a proven goalscorer in Europe and impressed last season particularly against Liverpool in the Europa League.

This game will be tough though and even if the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs come back into our team, it may not be a bad result to come away from Portugal’s capital with a point from this one. It could very well be 1-1 in this one.

18th September – Premier League: Chelsea @ Old Trafford

Even at this stage of the season, there’s no doubt that this match will be hyped up as a ‘6-pointer’ and there’s no doubt about it, that this is a game that neither Sir Alex Ferguson or Chelsea’s new manager Andre Villas-Boas will want to lose giving the importance this fixture has had in recent league history.

This wil be Villas-Boas’ first trip to United as a manager of the Blues and despite starting the season with two wins out of his three games, this is THE game that will test both his managerial and squad’s credentials out to the fullest.

Despite Chelsea’s most experienced players being on the wrong side of 30, there’s no doubt that Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry on their day are still good enough (not that I’ve doubted them) to cause the world’s best teams problems, as they have to United before.

Last season United came out of the blocks early in this one and despite a second-half strike from Lamaprd won the game in the first half through goals by Javier Hernandez and Nemaja Vidic. It’s vital here that United start the game well as if Chelsea get an early goal, there could be problems. United to win 2-1.

20th September – Carling Cup: Leeds @ Elland Road

Two days after facing Chelsea, United travel to our old traditional rivals Leeds United to face Simon Grayson’s side in the third round of the League Cup. Given the history between the two clubs, this will be a game that will get the supporters pulses going, even if United field a second-string side.

Going into the game, there’s bound to be one word that will be on every United’s fans lips and that word will be ‘revenge.’ After all we are due a victory over Leeds and it’s been almost 8 years since we have defeated them due to the Whites suffering two relegations during that time.

The last time we met Leeds was in the third round of the FA Cup two seasons ago, when we surprisingly fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford thanks to a first-half Jermaine Beckford winner that sent Sir Alex to his first FA Cup defeat to a side outside the top-flight during his time in charge of United.

In all honesty, this will be a tough game for our younger players and Sir Alex will probably have to play a few of the experienced lads (Michael Owen and Park spring to mind) to help them through. I can see Leeds scoring first but think United may just shade the tie and previal 2-1 in extra time.

24th September – Premier League: Stoke City @ The Britannia

Since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008, United have been (at least to my knowledge) the only side in the top-flight not to have dropped a point to the Potters having beaten them on every occasision that the sides have met.

To be fair to Stoke and their manager Tony Pulis, they have been unlucky on two occasions at home not to have taken something from us. In 2008 only a late goal by Carlos Tevez split the teams whilst last year Gary Neville should have been sent off before half-time in a game which we won 2-1.

Stoke to the credit of their manager Pulis have not flirted with relegation back to the Championship once since being promoted. With good signings made in the transfer-window, it would be hard to imagine them struggling this season, even if they the Europa League takes it’s toll on their squad.

Stoke may play a rough, oldfashioned and ugly style of football summed up by Rory Delap’s long throw-in’s, but their style of play is effective. Even if Vidic does make a recovery in time to play in this game, our defence will have their work cut out here as will David De Gea. Can see United nicking it 1-0.

4th September – Champions League: Basel @ Old Trafford

On paper you have to feel this is our easiest game of the month. Basel have certainly been Switzerland’s most successful side both domestically and in Europe over the last decade and have produced some good talent over that time.

You may recall we have faced them before in the Champions League, back in the 2002/03 second group stage. Back then Basel were arguably the surprise team of the competition and knocked out Celtic to reach the competition-proper before finishing above Liverpool in the first group stage.

Inspired by Ruud van Nistelrooy, we came back from a goal down in Switzerland to win 3-1 before a second-string team drew 1-1 with former Spurs manager Christian Gross’ side at Old Trafford in the penultimate group game for both sides.

Alexander Frei, Macro Streller and Xherdan Shaqiri will all be players our team will have to be wary of but United should have enough quality (even if a second-string side were to be selected) to be able to comfortably beat the Swiss champions here. This’ll be a routine 3-0 win.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87