TEAM PREVIEW: Manchester United – Rachel Riley feeling nothing but optimism

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Despite spending a lot of money on star players, Manchester United just made 4th last season and have already lose their two marquee names from last summer. But five solid signings and more to come seems to set United up for an even better campaign this time around, with Louis van Gaal now surely aiming an assault on Chelsea’s title.

Last Season: Premier League (4th)

Manager: Louis van Gaal



GKs: David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Victor Valdes, Sam Johnstone, Sergio Romero
DFs: Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Matteo Darmian, Guillermo Varela
MFs: Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Nick Powell, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger
FWs: Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Javier Hernandez, James Wilson, Memphis Depay



In: Memphis Depay (PSV), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Sergio Romero (Sampdoria)

Out: Ben Amos (Bolton Wanderers), Tom Cleverley (Everton), Saidy Janko (Celtic), Tom Thorpe (Rotherham United), Angelo Henriquez (Dinamo Zagreb), Nani (Fenerbahce), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce), Reece James (Wigan Athletic), Rafael (Lyon), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Will Keane (Preston North End – Loan), Joe Rothwell (Barnsley – Loan), Ben Pearson (Barnsley – Loan)


First Six: Tottenham Hotspur (H), Aston Villa (A), Newcastle United (H), Swansea City (A), Liverpool (H), Southampton (A)

Likely Lineup: (4-4-1-1) Johnstone – Darmian, Jones, Blind, Shaw – Mata, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Young – Depay – Rooney


A word from…Rachel Riley

On her support for Manchester United Before I was born I had United teddy bear’s and a baby-gro’s! My dad was from Salford so I didn’t have any choice in the matter!

On the summer so far It’s a shame that the De Gea situation is still lingering on, I thought he was going at the start of the summer but now it’s all up in the air, but we’ve made some good signings!

It’s a brand new team compared to two years ago but it’s got to be better than a couple of seasons ago! The goalkeeper is the big one, that’s the one we struggled on for so many years and that’s my big worry if De Gea goes.
We’ve got a good team; it’s just getting them playing together.

The pre-season seems to have gone ok so we’ll see how it turns out, I trust Van Gaal! I’m not going to complain, I’ll leave Van Gaal to it, and people are going to complain no matter what! When the new kit came out, I was looking at pictures on my phone and it felt so weird not seeing a Giggs or Scholes and now there are people who haven’t even played a game yet, it’s all very exciting and different!

On Van Gaal I really like him, he’s got hunger. I was at the player of the year event for the ‘speech’ and I loved it. You can see that he wants to win, he’s a winner and he’s not satisfied with anything else. I like how he is getting every little thing how he wants, from how they eat lunch to interaction with the fans, it sounds like he’s popular throughout the club from inside United too.

At the end of season event, he had time for all the fans. About an hour after the players left he was still there signing autographs and taking photos with the fans which is great.

On the new era It’s just a completely different era now; I was born in 1986 so I’ve only ever seen United under Fergie. It was about the youth coming through but football moves on, it’s like United starting to move into the modern era, spending more money on players from abroad rather than within the Premier League and buying experienced names like Schweinsteiger. He’s a solid midfielder, he’s got an experienced head and hopefully bring some of that to the team.

It’s just going to be interesting to see how he fits it all together, players like Fellaini had appalling seasons the year before but it shows what a difference the manager has made, it’s definitely a season to be optimistic, I’m excited not scared. We played some great football last season, when Moyes was here it was just so bad. I was at the City game that year and we let a goal in all the heads went down and that was it. But last season it was more than United way, even when we went behind we played well and came back. I didn’t say anything bad against Moyes but you’ve just got to get fully behind Van Gaal now.

On Wayne Rooney He should be in his proper position this year and he’s amazing when he gets a run up front, that could be like a new signing in itself. He’s awesome, people like to moan but even if Rooney has a bad game he can score an amazing goal out of absolutely nothing. He tracks back, he gives nothing up and I think he’s absolutely fantastic.

On a prediction I think we’ll come runners-up, people seem to be underestimating us already. You’ve got to let everyone bed in and for things to gel together but I think we’ve got a very good team. We had a lot of injuries last season and those things happen, hopefully pre-season has been more solid, it seems it has and Van Gaal has made it more towards what he wanted so hopefully he feels more prepared this season. We usually have a pretty awful start! All we can do is see how we’re doing by Christmas, it’s great to have European games back too!


The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Manchester United will, and should, have a better season than last. Signings have been good and Pedro will be another excellent addition. Without a new defender, it will be 2nd or 3rd at best, but if Van Gaal finds someone to his liking, there’s no reason why they can’t be the ones to dethrone Chelsea.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – Whilst De Gea did a great job of keeping goals out, this year Rooney knows he is United’s main man up front. 20 goals is his challenge and exactly that total would see him become United’s top scorer in their history, two incentives in one for the soon-to-be 30-year old.

One to Watch: Andreas Pereira – The Brazilian lit up the summer’s U20 Championships, scoring a superb goal for his country after making his league debut late last season. A few promising performances in pre-season ensure Pereira will be around the first team squad this season.


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