United's 2018/19 Premier League preview: everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming season
Writing for Real Sport 101, Chris Weir previews Jose Mourinho's third year at Old Trafford.
"Scholars of the game in Eastern Europe will tell you about Fred's incessant stamina and creativity. They'll tell you, too, about his wonderful passing range and ruthlessness from set pieces. They'll also tell you that he is exactly what United’s midfield has bene lacking.
"Antonio Valencia shouldn't be fearful of his starting spot – for now anyway. Dalot is injured until September, but he is seen as the successor to United's right back spot in the longer term. Full of pace and with an appetite to get forward, the Portuguese can also play at left back."
"Nobody will mourn Daley Blind's departure for too long. In truth, the Dutchman failed to make a lasting impression at Old Trafford. Michael Carrick’s exit is more symbolic."
"Mourinho has deviated little from a defensive 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 throughout his time at Old Trafford. The signature of Fred gives him a more mobile option alongside Pogba than Juan Mata, but there is unlikely to be any systemic change."
The key question: Can they knock City off their perch?
"United's starting XI is full of power and potency, but too often they have lacked creativity and zeal in attack. Mourinho may be dogmatic, but he is no fool; this is a squad that is made increasingly in his image, with a strong centre-forward augmented by a hard-working and disciplined midfield. It remains to be seen, however, whether that will be enough to derail Pep Guardiola in the other half of the city."
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