Pressure on Moyes as City, Chelsea up the ante


The last time Manchester United began a season without Alex Ferguson in charge Ron Atkinson was shown the Old Trafford exit door before Christmas and the rest, as they say, is history.

It is almost unthinkable that United’s new manager David Moyes will suffer the fate that befell Atkinson in 1986 because he has inherited a team that romped to the Premier League title in May to sign off Ferguson’s trophy-laden 27-year reign.
The gritty Scot will be under immense scrutiny, however, as he tries to keep the United juggernaut in front of neighbours Manchester City and Chelsea, both of whom boast new managers well-equipped to plot the Old Trafford side’s downfall.
Moyes, the man charged with replacing the most successful manager ever in English football, forged a solid reputation at Everton despite never winning a trophy but finally has the financial backing to satisfy his hunger for silverware.
A 2-0 win over FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic in the season-opening Community Shield last weekend would have whet his appetite but Moyes knows outwitting City’s Manuel Pellegrini and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho will be a far tougher proposition.
Mourinho, once tipped as Ferguson’s successor, is reunited with Chelsea nine years after first walking into Stamford Bridge, declaring himself the “Special One” and going on to win every domestic honour for the club, including two league titles.
Since leaving Chelsea after falling out with the club’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovic in 2007, Mourinho has garnished his CV by winning the Champions League at Inter Milan and briefly knocking Barcelona off their perch with Real Madrid.
Chelsea have not featured in the last two title races as managers have come and gone like London buses at Stamford Bridge but with Mourinho back at the controls again, the Blues are already being tipped as the team to beat this season.
City’s 2012-13 campaign was instantly forgettable as they surrendered their title meekly, suffered Champions League humiliation and flopped in the FA Cup final.
Roberto Mancini was promptly jettisoned and replaced with Chilean Pellegrini and the man known as “The Engineer” has been busy adding quality to City’s squad, particularly in attack.
For the first time the English top flight will have two Welsh teams after Cardiff City’s promotion along with Hull City and Crystal Palace.
All three will cash-in thanks to the Premier League’s new eye-watering TV deals but they will quickly discover that the top flight is an unforgiving place.

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