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5 things gleaned in pre-season include Man United’s dire need

| 04.08.2014

With approximately 12 days, 11 hours and 33 minutes (not that anyone is counting) from the publication of this article, Manchester United and Swansea will break the seal on another Premier League season, but what clues have we gathered in the build up?

As is now tradition the great and the not so great of the English top-flight have taken to the far corners of the world just to play a few friendlies masquerading as tournaments and here are five pointers to take so far:

Man United need at least one world-class centre back to play 3-5-2

Louis van Gaal has certainly got the Red Devils off to a good start on their tour of America where they are slight 23/20 favourites to beat Liverpool in the International Champions Cup.

Nevertheless, with the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, the Dutchman’s preference for a 3-5-2 system means attracting at least one more world class centre-back is still paramount.

Jose Mourinho is still going to blame referees when Chelsea lose

Shock and horror were delivered in equal measures after Chelsea went down 3-0 to Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen in the post-match breakdown. Jose Mourinho laid the blame firmly at the door of the officials – a sure sign of things to come.

West Ham are in pretty shaky shape

Six games and no wins to speak of so far in pre-season (DDLLDL) does not make brilliant reading from a West Ham perspective with the pressure on Sam Allardyce to change both results and playing style for the better in 2014/15.

Andy Carroll is out for four months, Ravel Morrison is currently on bail for assault and Big Sam cannot count on new signing Enner Valencia being fit for the start of the season.

Yaya Sanogo can find the net

Arsenal’s young French striker showed plenty of endeavour when called upon last season but the deadliness of a Daddy Longlegs in front of goal, where he failed to find the net in 14 appearances.

However, like buses they came all at once against Benfica as Sanogo bagged four times showing he can be a decent threat for the Gunners.

Liverpool might cope alright despite player-influx and Suarez exit

As mentioned above, the Reds (11/5) take on the old enemy in Miami and so far the new signings appear to have bedded in well.

Having lost Luis Suarez and bringing in a flood of new faces many have been quick to write off last season’s runners-up. However, wins over Olympiakos, Manchester City and AC Milan stateside suggest Brendan Rodgers will have other ideas.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.