Oddsmakers have released their soccer betting lines for the opening weekend of the 2014-15 Premier League season, with the Red Devils installed as one of the biggest favorites of the first playday.
Looking around, a United win is priced at roughly -300 at most places, while Swansea City can be backed at +1000 in soccer betting odds. A draw is listed at approximately +450.
Before we talk about the upcoming season, we have to reflect on United's poor 2013-14 campaign.
The Red Devils were a disaster under David Moyes, picking up some record-breaking defeats and finishing in seventh place in the Premier League, outside of all of the European places. Old Trafford was nowhere near as intimidating for other clubs to come to.
Moyes didn't last long, with United opting for experience and securing the services of Louis van Gaal as the new manager, with Ryan Giggs as his assistant. The Dutchman has had success at every big club he's been at and just took the Netherlands to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer. He knows what he's doing.
In terms of personnel, the Red Devils have brought in Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw and are rumored to be in the market for at least a couple of more players. They need to beef up their back-line and could use a winger or two as well.
Either way, Man. United is set up to bounce back in a big way in 2014-15. They're starting a clean slate under a new manager who demands respect, and it's not like they're short on star quality with Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Juan Mata. Look for much better things out of the club this season.
The Swans were mid-table last season, finishing 12th in the Premier League with 11 wins, nine draws and 18 defeats. They scored exactly the same number of goals (54) than they allowed (54) throughout the campaign.
Former Swansea City captain Garry Monk took over the club last season and now that he's gained some valuable experience in the position, it'll be interesting to see how his team plays this coming season.
Some interesting moves were made over the offseason. Gone are the likes of Chico Flores, Michel Vorm and Ben Davies, though the Swans have brought in some quality players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
The club would be wise to hold on to Wilfried Bony, who scored a team-leading 17 goals in the Premier League last season. He's been attracting interesting from some bigger clubs who are in the market for a striker, so we'll have to see if the Swans will be able to keep him around.
It's tough to predict what we'll see out of Swansea this season, but we should get an early idea here on Saturday at Old Trafford. What a first test this should be.
Premier League Pick
When push comes to shove, we have to back a win for United here in the season opener.
While we do expect the Swans to get at least one goal – the Red Devils have looked shaky in the back so far in the preseason and have yet to really do anything in the transfer market to address that weakness – ultimately we see United's quality up front shining through and making the difference.
With van Gaal at the helm, the Red Devils are in much better hands. Look for the hosts to do enough to secure the victory, although we don't expect it to come easy. It could take some time for United to really start finding their footing in the league.
Free Soccer Pick: Manchester United 2 Swansea City 1