Nonetheless, there was plenty to cheer in a campaign that saw enormous development from several young players, an 8-2 shellacking of Arsenal, 89 points and some majestic performances from a renascent Paul Scholes. Before looking at the weaknesses, it is important to acknowledge that, as football fans, we are very fortunate with what have.
However, being good is not sufficient for Manchester United and the inarguable truth is that we were not the best team in England last year, and certainly not in Europe either.
When turning to the league my first thought is; ‘Thank God Didier Drogba has left Chelsea’. That guy was far too good and, with him learning to use chopsticks on the other side of the world, the London club are a less daunting prospect.
The fortunes of John Terry’s club will largely depend on the manner and speed with which Ambramovic butchers Roberto Di Matteo. Although Chelsea will still be a handful on their day, they are depleted.
Manchester City have made only one signing to date in Jack Rodwell, who we should have got frankly, but were so excellent last season you can only expect the same again. The confidence they have gained from winning the championship is the most important acquisition that could have been made.
The margins were so fine last year that I have to predict United and City will occupy ther two top spots again. United’s playing squad, palpaply, has got better in the weeks Olympic fever has swept through Britain.
Shinji Kagawa has looked a revelation in pre-season, and certainly made a better impression than Eden Hazard did in the Charity Shield. Powell is an unknown quantity to me but I have high hopes for our ability to score goals in the coming campaign.
Last May though, it was the defence which caused us heartbreak. Whilst we are visibly toughened by the return of Nemanja Vidic, there remain doubts about the rest of the backline. Evra had his wobbliest season yet last time out and the loaning of Fabio to QPR baffles me. Left back is a position which needs cover and we don’t have any. David de Gea has won my vote and it can only be a positive thing to have super-confident Ander Lindegaard breathing down his neck.
Not for the first time we are left wondering what Fergie’s master plan is in the middle of the pitch. At one end of the scale we have the excellence of Barcelona’s passing game to aspire to and that, along with the brute strength and class of teams such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will prove beyond our reach this season. In fact, most of the trophies will be beyond our reach without a ball winner in the middle of the park. When the chips are down, who will turn it around? Rooney cannot do everything himself.
Last season could not have finished any worse really but my optimism for the following campaign remains undimmed. That in itself is dangerous, but being a fan of this club has always involved both fantasy and heartbreak along the way. There will likely be more over the coming months.
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