At the head of the betting
for all competitions they enter, the odds are stacked in Manchester United’s
favour for the 2010-11 football season.
Manchester Utd were
beaten to the Premiership title last year by Chelsea and by just the one point.
It would have been their 4th consecutive title in the Premiership and their
19th top-flight League title in total. They would have
overtaken Liverpool in the process, finally 'knocking them off their
'effing perch' as Alex Ferguson so dearly desires.
However, they were beaten by Chelsea, so didn't record a record 4th consecutive
title and said perch will have to be shared for another year at least.
Utd go into the season in good form though, most importantly with an
assured performance and a 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield. You
can't say that this will end up being a defining point of the season but in
terms of boosting confidence and setting a stall out as you mean to go on, it
has to be right up there.
The transfer market has been a relatively quiet place for Utd. Only three
players have left the club - Ben Foster, Tom Heaton and Zoran Tosic which will
also be music to the ears of fans hoping that Vidic would not be leaving,
something he confirmed himself by agreeing a new long-term contract.
Coming into the club are just 2 players so far, although, as usual, there are
plenty of rumours on the back pages of the tabloids on a daily basis. Chris
Smalling, a central defender from Fulham has come into the squad and will
be decent back-up for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, while Mexican Striker
Javier 'Chicarito' Hernandez looks a fantastic prospect and could get plenty of
game time throughout the 2010-11 season.
A lot will rest on the
goalscoring prowess of Wayne Rooney. He didn't have a strong World Cup, much
like the whole England squad, but he does have a knack of performing week-in,
week-out at Utd with a league tally of 26 goals last year. He will be a top contender
for the Golden Boot this season and is available with Paddy Power at 11/2.
Utd's squad depth is strong but with a couple of decent signings in the form of
a playmaker such as Mesut Ozil and potentially a holding midfielder too,
especially considering Carrick/Hargreaves injury woes, the club will have a
great chance of challenging for all competitions they enter.
With opening games at home to Newcastle, away to Fulham and home to West Ham,
you could see them with 9 points and sitting on top of the Premiership come the
end of August. Whether they will be there at the end of the season is another
matter and with City strengthening so much and Arsenal/Chelsea challenging once
again, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Utd slide a little this year. However
if you do see them winning the Premiership then you could do worse than taking
the 5/2 at William Hill.
There are the cup
competitions too and Utd will have a great chance to add to their European
trophies by winning the Champions League. The 13/2 at Paddy Power is definitely
appealing while the 6/1 (Ladbrokes) for an FA Cup win and the 6/1 (William
Hill) for a League Cup win could certainly tempt me to part with my cash.
This season there is a
genuine threat for Utd of being usurped by arch-rivals Manchester City and
nothing would make Ferguson or the Utd fans angrier than seeing the Premiership
being won by them. The money the Citizens have is enough, in theory, to
blow all the other teams out of the water. Whoever wins, it is extremely
unlikely that things will go so badly that Utd get relegated and this is
reflected in the 2500/1 at Ladbrokes.
A League or European win and
you may just see Ferguson retire but fail to win a trophy and slip down the
league and you may just hear the famous Alex Ferguson hairdryer from here.