The golden rule of football is “never write off Manchester United”. However, with a new manager at the helm for the first time in over two decades, this rhetoric will be tested by a new manager.
I believe that for the first time in Premier League history their manager may be a weakness rather than a strength.
David Moyes achieved minor miracles at Everton and it is harsh to scold him for not winning trophies. He achieved great things with the budget he had at his disposal during his time on Merseyside.
Managing a tight budget is not exactly a relevant credential when stepping up to manage Manchester United. Egos and expectations are higher and more difficult to manage as the club has known permanent success in the last twenty years.
There is a false perception that Manchester United are patient with managers, the truth is we don’t know if they will be patient. With only one manager in 20 years and huge changes in the game and ownership since then, this is an unknown factor.
Everton were notoriously slow out of the blocks under Moyes a luxury that will not be afforded at Old Trafford. No one outside of the club knows what an acceptable season will be for Moyes or how patient the board will be if he falters.
Then there are the mind games only Mourinho could compete with Sir Alex on this front and it will take time for Moyes to step up to the plate on this one and the pressure could take its toll.
Fans have grown up demanding perfection and this could be detrimental to Moyes chances of success. With a tough start (including a game against us) and a lack of a big name signing things could look pretty bleak if United are off the pace in October.
His appointment was a bold one by United and despite moving upstairs you can be assured that Sir Alex Ferguson will be lurking in the shadows keeping a close eye on his successor. I would not rule out Ferguson being back at the helm by Christmas.
Weak Squad (By United Standards)
The United squad is another weak factor compared to their recent history. Last season Ferguson performed miracles with one of the worst squads of his tenure helped by weakness in his rivals and the league as a whole.
This season Manchester City and Chelsea have new managers and refreshed squads, Arsenal have a warchest and Tottenham are following their standard pre season rhetoric of false confidence.
I am making my assumptions on the current United squad.
Thus far United have not significantly improved their squad, they are light and injury prone in defence and the Paul Scholes midfield sticking plaster has now been removed. Assuming Rooney stays then they will still be strong up front but compared to previous seasons this is a weak Manchester United squad.
I believe that unless they make three big signings between now and the end of the transfer window they will struggle to maintain a challenge for the title.
Some of you will read this and think I am writing United off entirely, you would be wrong. United are still a threat and cannot be discounted, I have a grudging respect for what they have achieved and the culture of winning could drive them forwards once more.
That being said they may never be in a weaker position than they are now compared to their rivals and are possibly the weakest they have been in the Premier League era.
I am confident that if any team can profit it will be one managed by Jose Mourinho.