It’s back. The Premier League is finally back!
Manchester United head across the border to Wales for their first game of the 2013/2014 season as they take on Carling Cup winners Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
The teams cancelled each other out in the same fixture last season and this game is likely to be another close encounter as the Swans have strengthened well during the transfer window.
Manager Michael Laudrup has made some shrewd signings so far this summer as he looks to build on their outstanding 9th place finish last term. Laudrup has brought in Ivory Coast hitman Wilfried Bony, Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and Spanish duo Jordi Amat and Jose Alberto Canas amongst some other low key squad players and youngsters.
Bony in particular will surely play a big part for the Swans this season and has started off well already with two goals in their Europa League qualifiers. He is likely to be joined in attack by Michu who will be looking to carry on where he left off after having a superb season where he scored 18 goals, one of which being the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with United at Swansea.
Another key player for Swansea is Dutch midfielder Jonathan De Guzman who has had his loan from Mallorca extended for another season after impressing last term but luckily for United, he will be missing this weekend as he recovers from a concussion he picked up on international duty midweek.
United picked up their first silverware of the season last Sunday when they beat FA cup winners Wigan Athletic in a comfortable 2-0 win at Wembley stadium but the real test starts this Saturday.
David Moyes has this week raised question marks over the difficulty of United’s first few fixtures and with games against rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City on the horizon he’ll be looking for his team to return to Manchester with at least a point.
Rafael will miss out as he is currently suspended and injured but it is thought that Rio Ferdinand will be ready to return for United after sitting out of the Wigan game. There are still question marks over the fitness of Michael Carrick who missed the England game midweek with an eye infection as well as Nani and Ashley Young who have been struggling with minor injuries.
Then there’s Wayne Rooney who, although he played 60 minutes for England on Wednesday night, is not guaranteed a place in the squad as talk of his future remains unclear.
Tomorrow is going to be a really tough opening fixture for Moyes and his boys but there will be a real confidence flowing through the team coming into the league as champions off the back the Community Shield win and they will be keen to give Moyes the perfect start.
Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Manchester United