For his first competitive home game as Manchester United manager, David Moyes could be forgiven for wishing the fixture computer had not spat out a game against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Not only have Chelsea improved their formidable squad during the close season and started the new campaign with back-to-back wins, but in Mourinho they boast a coach who has a history of upsetting United’s best-laid plans.
Moyes saw his new side run out convincing 4-1 winners at Swansea City in their opening Premier League game last weekend, but tonight’s match is unlikely to be quite so straightforward.
Moyes, though, is relishing the challenge.
“There have been a lot of things I have been looking forward to: taking the team on tour, leading them out at Wembley,” he said. “But to do it at Old Trafford for the first game against Chelsea is a thrill for me, it really is.”
Mourinho says that United remain the team to beat.
“They have players like [Rio] Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Ryan] Giggs, and they have this always mixed with very good young players,” he said. “With that winning culture, that makes the basis of big clubs. And they are a big club for many, many years. They have everything.”
Chelsea won twice at United in Mourinho’s first spell at the club, and United have prevailed only once in the last six encounters between the sides.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2013.
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