The opening game of the new Premier League season takes place at Old Trafford, as Louis van Gaal begins his reign as Manchester United manager with a home encounter with Swansea City.
As a result of van Gaal’s tactical astuteness and the lack of European football to provide a significant distraction, there is plenty of optimism among Man Utd supporters that they can put an awful last season behind them and return to being title contenders. They could manage that, but the squad still looks some way short compared to their rivals, with only two new players arriving so far this summer.
Should they manager to keep hold of last season’s 24-goal top scorer Wilfried Bony beyond the transfer deadline, Swansea will have an exciting partnership on their hands, with Bafetimbi Gomis having arrived from Lyon. Garry Monk is entering his first full season in management, and will be hoping to carry on in a similar way to how they ended last term, where they won three of their last four matches.
Luke Shaw will have to wait for his United debut after picking up a hamstring injury, but Ander Herrera could make his debut. Robin van Persie sits the game out, and Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick are on the sidelines. There are also doubts over Jonathan Evans, and as a result, the Red Devils look thin on the ground defensively.
Swansea could give a second debut to Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Lukasz Fabianski is expected to be in goal due to the sale of Michel Vorm. Leon Britton and Marvin Emnes are both out through injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man