Season Preview: Man UnitedTuesday, August 13, 2013
Ins and Outs
In – Wilfried Zaha, Guillermo Varela
Out – Paul Scholes
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What to Expect This Season
That is the question isn’t it? If you follow statistical analysis in soccer you will likely know that Sir Alex Ferguson was one of very few managers who have been mathematically shown to have a significant, consistent positive impact on his club’s performance over time. David Moyes is another manager who has shown this trait but his impact, measured by the same models, while still positive is significantly less than that of Ferguson. With the squad largely similar to last seasons the logical conclusion is that United will slip – not in a disastrous way – but in a perceptible way unless we see one or more significant acquisitions between now and the close of the transfer window.
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Players to Watch
Shinji Kagawa – He never really got a consistent chance last season and it isn’t clear that he will this season either but central attacking midfielders have traditionally done well under David Moyes and Kagawa is the only one who fits that mold.
Tom Cleverley – I view him similarly to Jack Wilshere in that there is so much desire for both to develop into England’s answer to Xavi and Iniesta that people have created outsized expectations for players who COULD be good but haven’t actually demonstrated that much in the league yet. Could he take a big step forward? Sure. Would I bet on it happening this season as United appear to be by not buying Cabaye/Fellaini/etc? No.
Other Teams Season Previews: ARS | CHE | MAC | SOU
With a modest decline due to the switch in managers and strengthening at both City and Chelsea, third is probably a reasonable expectation for United in 2013-14. Van Persie's presence alone likely means they won't fall any further than that.