18 August 2012 00:55
Manchester United begin the 2012/13 English Premier League season with a revenge mission away to Everton on Monday.
A dramatic 4-4 draw at home to Everton on April 22 was a major blow to United’s title challenge, as rivals Manchester City ultimately claimed the championship on goal difference.
United have added Japanese attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and teenager Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra over the close-season transfer window.
Kagawa scored the match winner in United’s 4-3 friendly win over German club Hannover on August 11.
In the same match United star Wayne Rooney continued an encouraging pre-season with a two-goal performance, converting both a free kick and penalty attempt.
The game showed off a new-look attacking combination for the 2012/13 season, with Rooney playing a deeper role beside Kagawa and Tom Cleverley.
Cleverley participated in the London Olympics for Great Britain and has said the experience will benefit him for the forthcoming season.
For Everton, Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar have been brought in by manager David Moyes.
Pienaar returns to Everton after playing for the club from 2008 until 2011, returning on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, before sealing a permanent transfer back to Goodison Park.
Naismith’s addition to the side has already proved fruitful, with the former Glasgow Rangers striker scoring a hat-trick against AEK Athens in a friendly on August 8.
Yet perhaps more significant were the players which left Everton over the close season.
Long-time servant Tim Cahill and promising midfielder Jack Rodwell have both left, with Cahill moving to the New York Red Bulls and Rodwell signed by Manchester City.
In their absence, Everton will look to Croatia international Nikica Jelavic to shine.
The striker netted 11 goals in 13 league starts following a January move from Rangers last season.