With Manchester United preparing for a season under the management of someone other than Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time since 1986, a smooth pre-season would have done wonders for David Moyes.
As it is, United have picked up just one win from four matches in Asia with a side yet to gel under its new guardian.
A 5-1 win over the A-League All Stars has been the solitary success thus far, leaving many to ponder what lies in store for the Red Devils this season.
With Fergie’s retirement, the reigning Premier League champions have endured possibly their most turbulent summer for many years, and seem set to lose out on signing Cesc Fabregas as well as Thiago Alcantara.
It goes without saying that it will take time for Moyes to find his feet at Old Trafford, and the vast overhaul to the backroom staff added to the continued debate over Wayne Rooney’s future can only increase the burden on the former Everton boss.
United have two more friendly matches before the Community Shield against Wigan on August 11th, and then the serious business gets underway against Swansea the following Saturday.
The League Cup winners are 19/5 to inflict an opening day defeat on United, who are 7/10 to give Moyes a perfect start to his tenure.
Under Ferguson, the club became fabled for their strength in the second half of the season, and their opening day record isn’t one to brag about.
United have won just three of their last six opening day fixtures, a stat which may cause many to plump for Michael Laudrup’s side, who were beaten just five times at the Liberty Stadium last season.
In recent years, United’s first trip away from Old Trafford hasn’t gone too well either, and in the past six seasons they have only twice won their first away game of the campaign.
Swansea have spent the summer adding to an already competent squad which claimed a cup win and a top-ten league finish last year, and rarely has there been a better time to host the reigning champions.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing