All the news, views and transfer rumours from Old Trafford this weekend…
With the final day of the transfer window drawing ever closer, Manchester United continue to be linked with a host of players. To read our United-specific transfer news you can find our Saturday report here and our Sunday report here.
Manchester United won the Community Shield earlier today after a 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic.
Both goals came from Robin van Persie; the first a sublime header that looped into the far corner and the second a deflected shot following good build-up play from his teammates.
David Moyes would have been pleased with the victory, even if some of United’s play was lacking. With the start of the Premier League season a week away, the game was another chance to build up to match fitness in time for the trip to Swansea City.
United started with the side many expected, although it was surprising not to see Shinji Kagawa start behind van Persie. The Japanese play-maker did appear late in the second-half, along with the sensation of pre-season, Adnan Januzaj.
Speaking after the game, man-of-the-match Michael Carrick talked about United being written off in their defence of the league title.
“Every year we’re written off at some point in the season,” he told ITV Sport, “it may as well be at the start.”
Not that van Persie believes they should be, despite the renewed challenge of Manchester City and Chelsea.
“We are the champions and based on that we are clear favourites,” the Dutchman said. “I believe in this team and I believe that we will compete until the end again.”
If his showing this afternoon is anything to go by, he will play a huge part in whatever the club go on to achieve this season and beyond.
And finally, the smallest of decisions can lead to the biggest of assumptions, with murmurings that United have given their clearest sign yet that Cristiano Ronaldo could be returning to Old Trafford.
The man who ultimately inherited his number 7 shirt, Antonio Valencia, has handed it back in favour of his old number 25 shirt.
The decision was announced on United’s Twitter account earlier today, and was clearly stated as a decision made by the player.
In a sport of superstitions, it is most likely a case of Valencia seeking to wear the shirt in which he showed some of his best form. But this is football, and speculation is half the fun…
image: © Paolo Camera