New Manchester United manager David Moyes will officially take charge of his first Premier League for the current title holders on Saturday the 17th of August.
Their opponents, Swansea City, are more than a match for most teams in the division, but more often than not were bested by United in their previous meetings.
However, this time around could see the hosts emerge comfortable victors for many reasons.
Swansea have already played two competitive games – both Europa League qualifiers against FF Malmo of the Swedish top-flight. They won the first leg convincingly in a 4-0 drubbing, while the second leg was goalless.
Summer-signing Wilfried Bony has already shown signs of a promising partnership ahead with fellow forward Miguel Michu pictured – last season’s signing of the campaign. The pair both scored in the 4-0 Europa League victory, and are tipped to finish the 2013/14 season among the top scorers in the Premier League.
To excuse the pun, Manchester United look heavily reliant on Robin…..Van Persie. Forward Wayne Rooney has already been ruled out of the Swansea game, so the goals will be potentially coming from just one man. It adds pressure on his shoulders to impress, and also leaves United with no plan b if it’s not initially working – as Danny Welbeck is less than prolific, and Javier Hernandez not looking likely of being in the running.
There is also the question of who will line up in defence for the Premier League holders. Injury troubles to the backline could lead to a different back-four lining up in most games until they’re settled, which could hamper the side greatly.
Manchester United may have won their first competitive game – a 2-0 win against FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield – but they have been very shaky during pre-season. Winning only two games out of seven, the side take few positives from the Asia tour.
The pressure on David Moyes’ shoulders is great, and could lead to his side starting the new season below-par. Having already complained about the tough fixture list they were handed – Swansea (away), Chelsea (home), Liverpool (away), Crystal Palace (home), Manchester City (away) – it appears the Scot has already set the tone for excuses for an inevitable slow start.
Going into the opening game, Swansea have no pressure on their shoulders, and they have home advantage on their side. On the flipside, Manchester United have more pressure on them than in recent seasons to start the season well, which could be their undoing.
Swansea will use all this to their advantage and could well emerge the victors when the two sides meet.