Manchester United take on AIK Fotball today in the Friends Arena in what kicks off the start of a busy week for David Moyes’ team.
The squad will travel back from Stockholm after the match and then they take on Sevilla at Old Trafford on Friday for Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial before kicking off the season for real when they face last season’s FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic at Wembley on Sunday.
With the Wigan match being United’s first competitive game of the season, it is expected that Moyes will field a mixed team in Stockholm and then a much weakened team against Sevilla on Friday as key players will need to be fresh for Sunday.
A lot of first team players haven’t travelled to Stockholm with De Gea, Ferdinand, Buttner, Fabio, Cleverley, Valencia, Hernandez and the ‘angry and confused’ Rooney all left behind, either rested or injured.
Youngsters Keane, Lingard and Januzaj are also left behind to much surprise especially after the latter two impressed so much on the Asian leg of the tour.
New boy Zaha has travelled with the squad after proving his worth on tour and he’ll be looking to impress even more as he hopes to claim a place in Moyes’ Wembley line up. There are also surprise inclusions for forgotten man Bebe and young Chilean Angelo Henriquez who had a terrible loan spell at Wigan last season.
AIK are on fire at the moment domestically having won eight of their last ten games so Andreas Alm’s side should pose a real test for United. Star striker Kennedy Igboananite, who has nine goals in 18 appearances this season, is expected to be fit but experienced defender Daniel Majstorovic could miss out with a foot injury.
With the start of the season so close now, Moyes will want to put out a strong starting XI and get his side playing as good as possible. Given how weak the squad was defensively in Asia, there will be an onus on a strong performance in that respect but with AIK’s storming domestic form, it will be a stern test for the side.
Predicted line-up – Lindegaard, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Jones, Anderson, Nani, Welbeck, Van Persie
Predicted result – 2-2