Out with the old and in with the new, that’s been the theme at Manchester United this summer with Zlatan Ibrahimović departing through the exit door to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku. Can the Belgian bring the goals needed to take United to the next level?
1. Hugely Important Season for West Ham
Outstanding the season before last, the Hammers really struggled in their new Olympic Park home and with the loss of talisman Dimitri Payet. Manager Slaven Bilic is on borrowed time it seems, and he will need to get off to a good start here if he is to ward off further rumours about his job.
The first day of the new football season has a habit of throwing up surprise results, so can West Ham capitalise and take the most unlikely three points home from Old Trafford?
2. The Bookies Choice - Betting Odds
The bookmakers tend to play the percentages at this early stage of the season – understandable, they’ve got a business to run – and that’s why Manchester United are as short as 1.30 to win this opener.
West Ham are a rather huge price of 12.00, while the draw can be backed at 5.00.
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|Manchester United to Win||William Hill: 1.30||Ladbrokes: 1.25||Bet365: 1.30|
|Man Utd to Win to Nil||William Hill: 1.91||Ladbrokes: 1.95||Bet365: 1.95|
|Both Teams to Score - NO||William Hill: 1.61||Ladbrokes: 1.66||Bet365: 1.66|
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3. Manchester United vs West Ham Prediction
A feature of United’s season in 2016/17 was just how good they were on home soil. Jose Mourinho has transformed them into a side that is hard to beat in front of their own fans, and a league return of W8 D10 L1 tells its own story.
That formline was skewed slightly towards the end of the season when the Red Devils, eyeing glory in the Europa League, made numerous changes to their starting eleven for the last few Premier League outings and their results suffered accordingly.
So we’re expecting another strong campaign for them at fortress Old Trafford. Paul Pogba will be much improved you fancy in his second season back in English football, and an improved output from Henrikh Mkhitaryan is anticipated. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are another year older, wiser and more mature, and that should reflect itself in greater productivity. Add in the goals of Lukaku and United could be a force to be reckoned with.
As for West Ham, we must wait to see how their summer transfer dealings pan out. Their squad must be improved if they are to enhance their eleventh place finish of last term, and they cannot rely on the goals of Michail Antonio, whose form in front of goal is unlikely to be repeated, and the injury-prone Andy Carroll. If Bilic is not busy in the transfer market, it is hard to see how another season of disappointment can be avoided.
One thing that is for sure is that smart punters will be backing the hosts to win this one. They have better players, are outstanding at home and should have enough to see off a West Ham outfit that has been bizarrely inactive in the transfer window thus far. Let’s back Manchester United to Win to Nil at 2.00.
Can Manchester United cope without the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimović? Can West Ham improve on their inconsistent 2016/17 season? The Premier League will soon be back….and we can’t wait!