Manchester United begin their 2017-18 Premier League campaign with a home match against West Ham United, aiming to push on from what can be considered a positive season overall last time out.
While silverware was added to the trophy cabinet with success in the EFL Cup and Europa League, boss Jose Mourinho knows that far more will be required in the top flight in his second term at the helm.
After sacrificing the Premier League to focus on the Europa League with a couple of months of 2016-17 left to play, Mourinho was fully aware that anything other than victory over Ajax in the Stockholm final would have been seen as a disaster.
Not only would United have fallen short in Europe’s secondary competition – a competition that the Portuguese had sidelined for the first half of the campaign – but they would also be facing another year without Champions League football at Old Trafford.
For a large part of last season boss Slaven Bilicseemed to be a dead man walking at the London Stadium, seen as the fall guy for his side’s occasional abysmal performances at their new taxpayer-funded ground in the capital.
Bilic survived the axe and actually guided the Hammers to a respectable 11th place finish, only missing out on a place in the top half by virtue of an inferior goal difference compared to West Bromwich Albion’s.
Lukaku and Matic are expected to make their league debuts for United this weekend, with the former looking to build on a record that has seen him score in seven of his last eight encounters with West Ham.
Luke Shaw, Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo are all long-term absentees, meanwhile, and Mourinho recently revealed that he does not expect to have Rojo back until the start of the new year.
Hart will be returning to enemy territory in his first competitive game since joining on loan from Man City, aiming to become the first keeper to keep three clean sheets at Old Trafford.
There is no place in the squad for the injured quintet of Michail Antonio, Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, however, as injuries once again strike the Hammers.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Jones; Bailly, Darmian; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Martial
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Arnautovic; Hernandez