“Do you think we’ll win the league?” The new season is only kicking off this weekend and already I have been asked this question more times than I would like to count. Of course we can win the league I answer. We’re Man United (please, everyone, do not read that and finish it with “we’ll do what we want”), we can always win the league. Not always because we’re the best team, not always because we’re the genuine favourites, but because we expect it. And we wish for it. And we’re special.
I try not to go into the season with any expectations, I really do, but the one thing I always wish for is the Premiership. Sure it would be nice to win another European Cup, especially getting revenge over Barcelona in a potential final. However, it’s not the priority. No cup should ever be more important than the league in which you play week in and week out. Winning the European Cup doesn’t automatically make you the best team in Europe, whatever Scousers may proclaim.
So what do I expect from the coming season? To be perfectly honest, I expect us to win the league. Preferably in a way slightly less damaging to my health than last season. However, it will be tough. Chelsea and City (I know, it pains me to say it) will probably be our toughest competition for the title. Well, that is if City can manage to score goals once that Argentinean man that we’re all pretty relieved Fergie didn’t ‘sign up’ crawls back into his hole. The title is ours to win, and ours to lose.
The one thing that worried me more this summer rather than who we would or wouldn’t sign was the state of the current team. It’s not the best team we’ve had, let’s be honest, but it’s far from the worst. People have spent way too much time focusing on which player we need in order to beat Barcelona that they seem to ignore the issues within the current squad. I have made this point so many times it has made smoke come out of my ears, signing one player will not suddenly ensure we beat every team, every week. Our away form last season was atrocious, worryingly so. We threw away leads, passed the ball like children messing about at the park and the players at times looked like complete and utter strangers. Our biggest problem isn’t the players we need replacing, it’s ensuring the consistency of the players that we already have, and that these players can perform as a unit. Signing a certain Dutch player, whose name I shall not mention as it may make me spontaneously combust, will not solve those problems.
More than anything, I expect it to be a rough ride. We don’t do things the easy way, not anymore. It’s not simply that we now have a much weaker a team, it’s that everyone else have become stronger. Whether by spending insane amount of money or building up within the club, you very rarely get a fixture in the Premiership these days that you confidently think will be a walk in the park. That’s what makes it the best league in the world. It’s also what makes it the thing most likely to kill me long before I am ready to take my final trip downstairs.
I really do believe (not to mention hope) that we can win the league. Anything else would remain a bonus, just as it always is. What I hope for almost as much is to watch United play, the real United, every week. We have some exciting young players already in the squad, some waiting to come into the first team line ups. We have some amazing regulars in the team. We have the best manager in the world. I don’t want to worry about May just yet; right now I just want to enjoy the Premiership being back.