I managed to grab a quick word with some of the RedMancunian Podcast team to discuss all things Manchester United and preview the almost-upon-us 2014/15 season. Here’s what Nick, Sam, Mark and Thomo had to say about what will be Louis van Gaal’s first (hopefully successful!) year in charge of the Reds.
Jack: First things first, where do you think United will finish in the Premier League this season?
Thomo: With our new realistic aims, as long as we get to the 40 point mark and get into the top 10 we will all be happy. At the end of the day, it’s not Moyes…
Mark: Top 4 for me, probably 3rd.
Sam: 4th, after City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Nick: Assuming no genuinely game-changing, Vidal/Hummels-shaped acquisitions, optimistically edging Arsenal out for third.
In which case, who do we think will win the league title this year?
Nick: Chelsea with a couple of games to spare. No obvious weaknesses to the first XI, plenty of depth and – all things considered – the best manager.
Thomo: Someone irrelevant to my life and hopefully it doesn’t come down to having to watch your mum or sister have sex like last season. Hopefully, if it’s not us, it’s Chelsea, as that’s the least painful of the big teams. Luckily I don’t have a sister.
Sam: Can’t see past Chelsea really – expecting Costa to hit the ground running and if they can score more than last year, they’ll walk it.
How about the cup competitions – FA Cup?
Sam: Final and win it! LvG’s not daft, he’ll have picked up on the importance of a good domestic cup run given we’re not in Europe.
Thomo: Like every year since we last won it I’m pinning my hopes on this. Last year was a damp Moyes squib. I am hoping we win it so that’s all I’m thinking about. United!!
Nick: United will win it, just because we’re long overdue. Granted I say that at the start of every season, but still – with no Europe to distract this year and a manager with a fine track record in cup competitions, high hopes.
Sadly, thanks to he who shall not be named, that just leaves the League Cup. Thoughts?
Nick: LvG to play youngsters en masse, to much delight and plenty of promise but ultimately leading to an exit against a middling Prem team. Arsenal to win it, their fans clinging onto it as another reason Van Persie was wrong to leave.
Sam: Although he’ll use the League Cup to try out some kids (which is what it should be for) and we’ll go out to Blackburn in the 4th round after a top away day.
Thomo: Well it will be fun until those horrible big boys come into play and bully us out of the compeition. I expect quarter finals with City winning the thing again.
Mark: Depending on LVG’s mindset towards the tournament! Hopefully winners!
Back to the Premier League. Top 4, in order. Go.
Nick: Chelsea, City, United, Arsenal.
Sam: Chelsea, City, Arsenal and United.
Mark: Chelsea, City, United, Arsenal.
Thomo: City, Arsenal, Chelsea and the Scouse.
And to be relegated?
Thomo: West Brom, Burnley and Southampton.
Sam: Sunderland, Leicester and Villa.
Nick: Swansea, Burnley, Villa for me.
Mark: Burnley, Crystal Palace and Swansea.
Final Premier League question – top goalscorer?
Nick: Danny Welbeck. Not even joking. Ok, Aguero.
Mark: Robin van Persie.
Thomo: Torres. This year is his year..
Sam: Diego Costa.
Good stuff. Now, back to United. Top scorer for the Reds?
Mark: Robin van Persie!
Sam: Own goal will make a race of it early doors, but RvP will run away with it in the end..
Nick: Rooney. With 27 goals, for what it’s worth.
Thomo: Rooney as RvP won’t last the season.
Who will be United’s Player of the Season?
Thomo: Ashley Young.
Nick: Mata will deserve it, Rooney will get the most votes from idiots.
Sam: Herrera – I know i’m getting ahead of myself..
Mark: That Scouse lad!
What about United’s suprise package this year – who do you think we’re not necessarily thinking about now but will stand out?
Nick: Ander Herrera. He’ll be even better than he looked in pre-season. Welbeck to have comfortably his most prolific season yet as well.
Sam: Herrera – his close control and passing and movement in pre-season has me convinced he’s perfect for the way LvG wants to play.
Mark: The last minute deal to sign Kevin strootman in January!
Thomo: Ashley Young.
Let’s go negative – who/what will be United’s biggest disappointment?
Thomo: Ashley Young.
Mark: Ed Woodward.
Nick: Ed Woodward, or whatever monstrosity of a banner Tufty comes up with next.
Sam: Missing out on Vidal, Hummels or both and seeing Darren Anderton’s prodigal sick-note son Jonny Evans get his yearly serious injury before Christmas.
Now I’m sad. Let’s depress ourselves even more and turn to Europe. Quickfire: Champions League, Europa League, Bosnian Premier League?
Sam: Bayer Munich, Inter Milan and perennial runners-up Siroki Brijeg will build on last year’s second place to storm to the title on the back of another top scoring season from Wagner Santos Lago.
Thomo: City will win the Champions League to ruin my life and the Europa League will be won by a Spanish team because they always do. In terms of Bosnia, after missing out last year Željezničar will be after getting their title back so I can’t see past them to be fair.
Mark: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Željezničar Sarajevo – after last seasons heart breaking run-in and not having any European commitments they should do well.
Nick: Real Madrid, Spurs and Siroki Brijeg, obviously.
You’ve done your homework! Right, final question. Let’s finish on a more optimistic note. Guys, what’s your biggest wish/hope for the season ahead?
Nick: Good football, youngsters brought through, John Terry to slip on the podium steps as he goes to lift the PL trophy and do both cruciates.
Sam: Craig starts putting more and more money on Luke Shaw first goalscorer and whilst playing very well, and contributing numerous assists, Shaw embarks on a run of increasingly hilarious Torres-esque missed chances.
Mark: That LvG is the real deal and delivers on the pitch, not just saying the right things to the right people and hoping it all works out!
Thomo: 1. Jack Holt stops with the John O’Shea obsession, and 2. Off the pitch is as much as a laugh as last season and on the pitch we play attacking football with a smile on our faces. Basically the opposite to the bloody Moyes year!
1. Can’t see it, and 2. Thanks guys! Cracking stuff. Here’s to a (hopefully) great season ahead full of highs and lows and £10 Luke Shaw first goalscorer betting.
Don’t forget you can listen to the dulcet tones of Mark, Sam, Thomo and Nick, as well as the Chief himself Craig Norwood, plus a variety of different guests throughout the season, on the weekly RedMancunian podcast. The first epiosde of the 2014/15 season is out today and can be listened to… here.