Manchester United are hungry to regain their crown after the blue half of the city denied them the Premier League title in the very last minute thanks to Kun Agüero’s famous goal. The Red Devils will also want to make up for last season’s disappointing display in Europe, when they crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages.
Looking to bounce back
Manchester United never expected to exit Europe so soon. All they needed was a draw in Switzerland to take their usual place in the last sixteen, but Basel condemned them to a consolation slot in the Europa League. Things went no better for them there, for Marcelo Bielsa’s Bilbao were simply outstanding in defeating them both at Old Trafford and San Mamés.
The domestic season was also a let-down for Sir Alex Ferguson. His team went out of the League Cup at the Theatre of Dreams to second division Crystal Palace, and Liverpool put them out of the FA Cup in the fourth round. But the league title looked to be theirs, until Manchester City scored twice in injury time against Queens Park Rangers to complete one of the most dramatic climaxes to a Premiership season ever.
New faces at United
The Scottish manager has brought in two interesting new recruits ahead of the new season. Japan’s Kagawa has arrived from Borussia Dortmund for 20 million euros, while Nick Powell, an 18 year old prodigy signed from Crewe Alexander, is also going to attract attention. Ferguson has said that his work on the transfer market is not yet complete, and there could still be new arrivals at Old Trafford.
Rome and Wembley remembered
The last two official encounters between Manchester United and FC Barcelona have been in Champions League finals, those of 2009 and 2011 in Roma and at Wembley. In the Italian capital, goals from Eto’o and Messi won the Catalans the title, and two years later in London, Barça won the trophy for the fourth time. However, the last time they met was in the 2011/12 preseason in the USA, where despite an astonishing goal from Thiago, United won 2-1.