EPL 2011: Can Manchester United regain their EPL title?
The start of the EPL season from August 13 will bring with itself a big question; can the reigning champions Manchester United, perform as well as it takes to defend the crown or will the younger guns make it difficult for Sir Alex Ferguson to execute their well laid out plans.
There cannot be any doubt that the Manchester United club is going through a transition and the 2011-12 season will be a test for Ferguson on whether the side can live up to their big name. There has been a slow and steady influx of the younger blood, which should help the side obviously, especially given that the careers of the likes of Ryan Giggs, Edwin Van Der Sar, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand are veering towards the sunset.
It was interesting to see that it was a youngster who combined with the experienced heads to comeback strongly in the Community shield match after having gone down 0-2. If the result is anything to go by, it does look like Manchester United have done well to do two things during the season break – get a good side up and use the time to prepare rather well on their visit to the USA.
Players to look out for in the season:
The signings of Ashley Young and Phil Jones will bear fruit over the seasons given their inexperience, but there isn’t too much doubt that David de Gea will be one to watch out for. His goal-keeping came for some special mention during the Community Shield match and in him, the followers would be hoping that the club had found someone to replace the rather big boots of Van Der Sar.
The one player not in too much news in recent times, after all the controversies of the previous season is Wayne Rooney. His partnership with Javier Hernandez was one of the reasons why Manchester United came back strongly in the second half of the season and Ferguson will look to expect some big things from the pair.
Some of the others to look out for, however, will be the likes of the younger guns: Tom Cleverly, Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf. Interestingly, Dimitar Berbatov had a decent previous season but chances are that he may not find favour with the manager in the starting line-up and could be replaced by some of these youngsters.
Nemanja Vidic will prop up the defence, and while the manager will hope for Rio Ferdinand to get fit for the entire season, the chances are higher for the likes of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones to take up the role of backs.
Manchester United have been tipped by the bookmakers to lift this year’s crown as well, as they go into the season at 2.75. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are second, third and fourth favourites with odds of 4, 5.5 and 12, followed by Liverpool at 15.
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