Well it's finally here. After a weekend of mixed results for United, a draw between Arsenal and Pool mitigated by West Brom acting like a cheap hooker rolling over lying there and taking it against Chelsea, it's time for the real season to begin. The opponents today will be Newcastle United who are back in the league that frankly their wonderful supporters deserve to be in. Newcastle do feature former United striker Alan Smith and defender Danny Simpson and United killer Kevin Nolan who scores at OT for fun. Andy Carroll can be a handful up front and Vida will have to keep a close eye on the young striker. but this game is United's to lose. A statement of intent is needed after Chelsea's result this weekend.
I would like to see Danny Simpson get the start for Newcastle. He is a Salford boy and I always thought he was a little unlucky to only make 3 United appearances. I am sure the young lad will be dying to get a run out against his former club and the club he supported as a boy. He always looked dangerous going forward but I think he is a player Valencia could give the run around if they are matched up against each other.
I also have a soft spot for Alan Smith. Despite the fact he came from Leeds he was a player that gave his all for United when he played and he had a little bit of Sparky in him. A pitbull that would lead the line and was capable of the spectacular.And what about that goal against Fulham? Such determination.
I always thought he was unlucky at United. Imagine if Smith had been allowed to play as a striker more often and hadn't broken his leg. Put him up front with Rooney and watch defenders quake in their boots. Alas, it wasn't to be for Smith and United so he moved on to Newcastle where he is vice-captain. He was sent off on his last visit to Old Trafford.
For United the line up and who plays today is really important. Will Rooney start? How much time will Chicharito see? There are interesting questions as we get closer and closer to kick off but ultimately it doesn't really matter. The players who start today for United will be better than the players on the pitch for Newcastle. It's that simple. If we match their work rate and determination we should be able to win this match. But it's almost never easy for United on the opening day of the season and Newcastle will be desperate to prove they belong back in the top flight.