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Manchester United vs Birmingham preview

Owen could make his start against Birmingham

Owen could make his first competitive start

Manchester United kick-off the defence of their Premier League crown against Birmingham on Sunday at Old Trafford. The Red Devils could achieve a record four consecutive league titles, with a title a triumph this season.

United are clear favourites to defeat Birmingham City on the first day of the Premier League. However they go in to the game on the back of the FA Community Shield penalty defeat to Chelsea last Sunday.

Even after that defeat to Chelsea, United are still the team to beat in the Premier League and Birmingham will hoping to catch United on an off-day. Newly promoted Birmingham couldn’t have asked for a harder opening game back in the top flight and a win will be a tough task.

United could give first competitive starts to new signings Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia, who both came off the bench against Chelsea last weekend. United are without key defender Nemanja Vidic and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. England keeper Ben Foster is expected to deputise for the Dutchman and Jonny Evans is likely to replace the Serbian defender. However Portuguese winger Nani is expected to shake off a shoulder injury sustained against Chelsea.

Birmingham could give debuts to new signings Roger Johnson, Joe Hart, Barry Ferguson and Gregory Vignal. However they have a major injury list which includes Liam Ridgewell, Martin Taylor, David Murphy, Giovanni Espinoza and Scott Dann.

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