English Premiership

Man United to start afresh

2014-08-15 07:37
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

London - The Louis van Gaal era will begin in earnest for Manchester United on Saturday when they host Swansea City in the first match of the 2014-15 Premier League season.

Read: Why United will win the 2014/15 EPL title

The 63-year-old Dutchman has impressed in his first four weeks at the United helm, overseeing five wins and a draw in pre-season, but it is in the league that his achievements will be judged.

Swansea were one of eight teams who came to Old Trafford and won last season, creating a sense of vulnerability that Van Gaal has been hired to banish for good.

Coincidentally, United also met Swansea on the opening day of the 2013-14 campaign, with the then-defending champions winning 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium in David Moyes's first league game as manager.

The result was to prove a red herring, as United finished the season down in seventh place, but midfielder Tom Cleverley says that it will be important to set the right tone for the forthcoming campaign.

"We can't wait to get going against Swansea and look to put right the wrongs from last year," he told the United website.

"We started against Swansea last year, but away. This time it's at home and I'm sure the fans will be the same as us: raring to go. It'll be the manager's first competitive game and I'm sure it'll be a special atmosphere."

Wayne Rooney will lead United out for the first time since being named captain after Tuesday's 2-1 friendly win over Valencia.

United will have to make do without £27 million close-season signing Luke Shaw, however, after the 19-year-old left-back was ruled out due to a hamstring strain.

Another team buoyed by a positive pre-season period are Arsenal, who launch their assault on the league title at home to Crystal Palace.

Having ended a nine-year trophy drought by winning last season's FA Cup, Arsene Wenger's side gave an eye-catching demonstration of their title credentials by outclassing league champions Manchester City 3-0 in last weekend's Community Shield.

New signing Alexis Sanchez, a £30 million acquisition from Barcelona, is in line to make his competitive home debut against Palace and captain Mikel Arteta has called on his side to make a positive start to the campaign.

"We've done our (transfer) business early this season so we can start from the off and that's what we want," the Spanish midfielder told the Arsenal website.

"We want to set a marker and we don't want to miss that opportunity. We've got experience now, we are able to win. We have the qualities to do it, we have the structure, the fans, the club and the desire to do it."

Palace go into the game in crisis after reports emerged late Thursday that manager Tony Pulis had left the club after falling out with owners over transfer policy.

Championship champions Leicester City will play their first top-flight game since 2004 when they host Everton on Saturday, while fellow promoted side Queens Park Rangers welcome Hull City to Loftus Road.

Champions Manchester City begin their title defence at Newcastle United on Sunday.

When City last claimed the title, in 2012, they won only two of their opening five games the following season, but captain Vincent Kompany feels that they now possess the necessary know-how to retain their title.

"We know what to look out for. We know what not to do," said the Belgian centre-back, who has signed a new five-year contract.

"The players at City have got experience with winning trophies. It goes in phases. We're in this phase now. We feel we can win it."

Liverpool, who narrowly lost out to City in last season's title race, open the campaign at home to Southampton, who saw Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all leave for Anfield in the close season.

Lallana will miss the reunion with his former club due to a knee injury but Lambert and Lovren are both in contention to feature in what will be Liverpool's first competitive game since the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are expected to hand competitive debuts to new signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas when they visit the third promoted team, Burnley, on Monday.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.