Bookies.com looks at the important matches that will shape a Manchester United title challenge in 2015/16.
Manchester United make a return to Europe next term and will have to go through the play-offs to reach the Champions League group stage.
Louis van Gaal will have to juggle these continental commitments with a Premier League title tilt on the home front. United are a top-price 11/2 with Ladbrokes to reign supreme again.
Bookies.com pick out five key fixtures home and away that shall shape the Red Devils’ domestic campaign.
United tackle Tottenham at home on the opening day of 2015/16 (match to be played on the weekend of August 8th and 9th). Rumoured Red Devils interest in Spurs star striker Harry Kane makes for an interesting early sub-plot here, but the hosts are odds-on at a best-price 8/11 with Betway, Coral and Sky Bet to send Mauricio Pochettino’s team home with nothing.
Midfield anchorman Michael Carrick could face a White Hart Lane homecoming in the return fixture, scheduled for the weekend of April 9th and 10th.
United’s old enemy visit ‘the Theatre of Dreams’ on the weekend of September 12th and 13th. This is not the greatest time for a prestige fixture, as it follows the conclusion of the early autumn international break, but this intense rivalry should need no introduction to punters.
Some of the old spice that surrounds this fixture – Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, plus who can forget Kop idol Steven Gerrard’s swift sending off after coming as sub last season – will need replacing mind. The Reds entertain their Manchester rivals at Anfield over the weekend of January 16th and 17th.
Still a hugely influential fixture, despite it no longer being a dugout duel between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. The Red Devils are at the Emirates over the weekend of October 3rd and 4th.
Will former Gunners frontman Robin van Persie still be on the books at United? These two clubs, the most successful of the Premier League era, will battle again at the end of February (weekend of the 27th and 28th).
Noisy neighbours Man City cross town to take on the Red Devils on the weekend of October 24th and 25th. This delectable derby has produced both memorable moments and tense affairs in recent times. Remember Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick? What about that Michael Owen stoppage-time winner? The Etihad encounter is pencilled in for the weekend of March 19th and 20th.
Jose Mourinho’s men are the team to beat, and the Red Devils have been on the receiving end against the Blues recently. Samuel Eto’o produced his best display in England by hitting a hat-trick against them, but now it could be former loan flop Radamel Falcao that comes back to haunt United.
There’s a Christmas clash with Chelsea on Monday 28th December, and Mourinho hosts Van Gaal and co at Stamford Bridge around six weeks after on either February 6th or 7th.