Manchester United Could Struggle To Collect Silverware In 2009-2010

The 2009-2010 English football season begins in just over a month's time. While it is far too early to talk legitimate "previews," it isn't too early to speculate on the reigning champs.

Manchester United have seen much glory in the last three years. Three Premier League crowns, A Carling Cup, A Champions League Trophy, a FIFA Club World Cup trophy, and two FA Community Shields.

Much of that success can be attributed to players who no longer wear the United shirt. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for 80 million quid, and Carlos Tevez, unhappy with his playing time, is going to move to Manchester City or Chelsea.

Cristiano Ronaldo is irreplaceable, at least in the near term. He is the fastest player in the world, possesses more skill than anyone with the exception of one or two other players and he can score 25+ goals from a wing position.

Tevez, although brilliant in his own right, is replaceable, it's just sad for most of the Mancunian Army to see him leave on such terms.

June and July have been busy months for departures and arrivals. In is long-time target Antonio Valencia, who has the ability to score 15-20 goals a season.

United also swooped up French neophyte Gabriel Obertan. He is a young winger with a lot of promise, but for him to make a large contribution this season is optimistic at best.

The shock move of the summer came when United signed former Liverpool and Newcastle forward Michael Owen. The former England star is looking for a career changing opportunity at United, and I think he can get it.

United haven't started the season with a win since their 2006-2007 EPL title-winning season. Two home draws in the past two season's inaugural weeks to Reading and Newcastle have left United behind the eight-ball early.

Can United set another new record and win their fourth straight Barclays Premier League title? Sure, but it is going to take most of the team staying at full fitness.

In the last two seasons United have been stretched thin at times at the back, and before the signing of Berbatov last year, up top as well.

The new signings aren't blockbuster, but Ronaldo's exit was all the blockbuster United needed to stay in the off-season limelight.

The return of Owen Hargreaves would be helpful to shore up the middle. Michael Owen's fitness is always at question, lucky for him he joins a club with one of the best fitness staffs in the entire world.

Critics are asking where the goals will come from now that Cristiano is gone. It's a worthy question, but I think it is one that can only be struggled to answer if United start the season with a goal drought.

For United fans to be bullish on the 2009-2010 campaign might be stretching fandom into unrealistic realms, but most commentators last year had United finishing 2nd or 3rd, and they were able to prove why they hold the most Premier League titles.

While I bleed United red, I tend to think United may end the season without much silverware. The new United kits don't offer much in the way of anticipation either. They are simply hideous.

Will United be able to survive sans Ronaldo? We shall see, in just over a month.

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