1) They will pick a more dynamic midfield than they did against Leicester City
Sure, Manchester United won Sunday’s Community Shield tie against Premier League Champions Leicester City at Wembley, and on the balance of play, they probably deserved to. But there was some deja vu at work with Jose Mourinho’s selection of Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini recalling the worst days and nights of Louis van Gaal’s reign. It’s a partnership that lacks pace and dynamism, which shouldn’t be repeated at Dean Court this weekend, not with Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and a certain world record signing available.
2) The Pogba Effect could play its part
If the reactions of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are anything to go by, the United squad are bouncing at the arrival of Paul Pogba for a record transfer fee from Juventus this week. The presence of a player with such quality will help United no end as this season develops, but in the immediate future, with Pogba needing to build up his fitness and likely only making the bench this weekend, it should force several of the club’s midfielders to step their game up a notch or two, as there isn’t any way that an £89m player doesn’t make Mourinho’s starting XI. Places are under threat, and plenty of players have to prove themselves.
3) Memories of last season’s loss will spur them on
Last December’s tame 2-1 loss to Eddie Howe’s side ranks as one of the lowest ebbs in United’s recent history, coming as it did just days after their Champions League exit at the hands of Wolfsburg. United were sloppy, overly cautious and toothless in attack that evening, and it shouldn’t be repeated on this visit.
4) Mourinho will demand it
It seems strange to think that this time last year, we saw Mourinho’s infamous touchline bust-up with Chelsea physio Eva Carneiro in their 2-2 draw with Swansea City, a day that seemingly sparked the collapse that eventually cost the Portuguese his job. A year on, calmer, seemingly wiser but more determined to succeed than ever, Mourinho will demand victory from his team as he attempts to lay down a marker for this league season early.
5) United should have too much in attack
Anthony Martial is just finding his feet having only recently started trsining; Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ready and waiting to impress; Jesse Lingard has started this season the way he ended it, with a spectacular goal; Juan Mata has shown more than enough glimpses of his quality to suggest that he can play a vital role in United’s season and Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved this past weekend that with the right service, he can make things happen for United. Touch wood, United should win.