The long wait is over and the football has returned. Yay! Manchester United have a pretty tough Premier League opener, as they host Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday's early kickoff. Spurs have been particularly stubborn opponents for United over recent times: prior to the 3-0 win at Old Trafford the last time these sides met, the Reds hadn't beaten the north Londoners in five attempts.
Mauricio Pochettino's side haven't been particularly busy in the summer transfer market, with their priciest acquisition being Atlético Madrid centre-back Toby Alderweireld. However, attack-minded right-back Kieran Trippier -- born, as it happens, to a United-supporting family in Bury -- will be hoping for a starting berth against United, having joined from Burnley in June.
They're still Spurs, and will still be woefully inconsistent this season, but they could cause United a few problems here.
Marouane Fellaini will definitely be missing through suspension, while Marcos Rojo and Javier Hernández are both fitness doubts after barely featuring in pre-season. However, the big news is that Louis van Gaal has confirmed David de Gea will not play tomorrow, presumably ahead of a move to Real Madrid. Sergio Romero should start instead, though van Gaal may well decide he's not yet ready after his recent arrival.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is their biggest injury concern, though Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend and Alex Pritchard are all apparently doubtful.
Under Pochettino, Spurs have become prolific pressers of their opponents, but occasionally to their detriment. The Argentine coach always likes his team to push as high up the pitch as possible, and plays the physical Mousa Dembélé as an attacking midfielder with the specific purpose of trying to disrupt their opponents' build-up play. That's something United will have to look out for, though having two holding midfielders instead of one (assuming van Gaal sticks with a 4-2-3-1) should help.
The good news is that Spurs may be energetic without the ball, but that doesn't always mean intelligent. They often get their positioning wrong, leaving holes that opposition attackers can take advantage of. United will no doubt look to move the ball quickly in a bid to catch Spurs off-guard.
Pochettino will likely play versatile defender Eric Dier as one of his side's two holding midfielders in the absence of Ryan Mason. That should add some steel to their midfield, though the fleet-footed Memphis Depay must fancy his chances if he gets tangled in a one-on-one with Dier. Spurs are just as weak in both full-back spots, with Kyle Walker and Danny Rose good attackers but poor defenders ... if only Pedro was here already.
Spurs' two main attacking dangermen are undoubtedly Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. The former looks set to drift in from the right in a Mata-esque role, where his fine vision and passing range will dictate a disciplined performance from Morgan Schneiderlin. Kane could yet be a one-season wonder, but the England international was lethal up front last season, and will likely prove a handful for makeshift centre-half Daley Blind.