It is, for the most part, a draw indistinguishable from the early stages of the Champions League. Manchester United’s Europa League group draw offers no glamour ties, but then with the seeding system, there rarely are in the main competition either. José Mourinho’s team is set for trips to Netherlands, Turkey and Ukraine, in a group that United should walk. But then, with Premier League revival the clear priority this season, it is also a competition in which nobody at Old Trafford is truly interested.
What a difference a summer makes. Two games into José Mourinho’s tenure as Manchester United manager and the narrative surrounding England’s most successful club has significantly changed. Victories over Leicester City and Bournemouth, allied to the new manager and fresh faces in the dressing room, have brought confidence coursing back. The sentiment on the terraces has done a 180 – far from the despondency of the last few years, fans now believe that United is not only back, but bound for success. Friday night under Old Trafford’s lights is just one more step towards the inevitable.
Back to that winning feeling. Last season Manchester United collapsed at Bournemouth – it seemed to say much about Louis van Gaal’s team. No longer, with José Mourinho’s side returning to Dean Court to seal a comfortable win, although not one that always brought back the style. That time will come, but for now the Portuguese has two victories from two competitive matches.
Rant once enjoyed Fantasy Football. That was until 599 of the 600+ league entrants topped Rant’s score in last season’s league. Now Rant is taking its ball and heading home. While nobody at Rant HQ is giving up the day job, there’ll be another mass Rant fantasy league this season, with the Premier League starting on Saturday to kick off what is likely to be one of the most competitive competitions for years.
So here it is: after an 85 day break the new Premier League season begins this weekend. José Mourinho has added four high-class players to his squad and will now, presumably, concentrate on cutting some bloat before the window closes at the end of August. Indeed, Manchester United’s confidence and hopes are higher than at any time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. It’s a fine squad, albeit with some holes, that should challenge on multiple fronts this season. But who’s the best and the who’s the worst at Old Trafford. Rant ranks them all, from 30 to 1.
Same old United, always winning – at Wembley. José Mourinho’s team returned to the capital just 78 days after collecting the FA Cup to bag the Community Shield with victory over Leicester City. Much has changed in the interim: new manager, new faces, and a new belief that the dark times of the past three seasons are now over.
It took little more than four minutes. The spin, the leap, the goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic as only Zlatan could, scoring on his non-competitive début, with a bicycle kick of sorts against Galatasaray in Gothenburg. The moment of Manchester United’s pre-season; a flash of brilliance to underline that the coming season should be very different from the three that have preceded it. Hope, then, for millions of United supporters, although questions still surround a squad that remains incomplete and a tactical plan that is far from firm.
Ed and Paul have hosted Rant Cast since 2009, 265 episodes and counting of high-quality football content, with dodgy jokes and, according to some, an anti-Wayne Rooney agenda. Whether the latter is true is open to your interpretation, but one thing is true: Rant Cast’s commitment to an hour-a-week of chat, for your pleasure, direct to your iPhone (or listening platform of choice). Now here’s a chance to show your appreciation!