The Premier League season has barely begun and already we have two massive weekends, with Manchester United v Liverpool tomorrow and Manchester United v Chelsea next weekend. The fixture list has not been kind to the champions.
United have had a stop start beginning to their season and have already played a game less then their chief rivals, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. They played in the European Super Cup a couple of weeks ago meaning that their weekend fixture was postponed. Then came the international week just past meaning that United haven’t played a league game since the second weekend of the season. So they may just be coming into this heavy week, with a Champions League game against Villarreal in between, a bit colder than they would have liked.
Until this season, when the rules were changed, the Italian Serie A seeded teams according to where they finished in the season just past, when compiling the fixture list. This was designed to ensure that the top teams would not meet each other early in the season. Effectively hoping that when they did meet they would be a top form and condition and the match would be “fairer.” They have since done away with that, making the fixture list as random as it is supposed to be.
United go into this match with a great recent record against Liverpool. But it has been a while since they have met them this early in the season and they would no doubt, if given the choice, elect to play them when their season is well and truly up and running. With the league so close these days teams don’t want to fall behind early, and the losers of this match will already be playing catch up.
The stop start season thus far has given the likes of Carrick and Giggs time to recover from injury, both went off in the opening fixture against Newcastle, and Berbatov some extra training with his new team mates. Nani, who has been suspended for the opening games , is one to have benefited from the internationals, as they would have given him competitive games that he has so far missed.
For Liverpool, both Torres and Gerrard, their best players by far, have been out injured for the last few weeks and both missed their countries games. While they were declared unfit to take part in the internationals, don’t be surprised if they were to suddenly find themselves well enough to play tomorrow. England and Spain may be annoyed if that were to happen, but Liverpool won’t be. Miraculous recoveries like that are common place in football.
Being played this early in the season means that from a footballing point tomorrows game should not be as good as it would be if they had played later. However this is United v Liverpool, and the rivalry and bad blood between the two means that it will be as hard fought as ever and neither team will want to give an inch.
The early fixture may favour Liverpool more than United, but United will be looking to extend their good run against their northern rivals, and tomorrows game should be a close, if ill tempered, affair.
(Pic from teamtalk.com)