Manchester United-Everton Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Manchester United will start their campaign to regain the Premier League title at Goodison Park against Everton on Monday evening, complete with new star signing Robin van Persie.
Van Persie's move to Old Trafford from Arsenal is one of the most talked about transfers of the summer so far, and his potential strike partner Wayne Rooney is delighted by the signing.
"Obviously it is great for the team - for the players and fans - to sign a player of his quality," said Rooney. "As forwards it is great for us to have someone like that to play with and it is always exciting when you sign a new player of that quality and ability. It also provides strong competition. We are all fighting for one or two places, which is good for the team as a whole.
"We are playing for Manchester United, so there is always expectation on us. Over the last two or three years I have been the one scoring the goals but that will not happen without the players to give you the assists. The only thing that will change is that we might be able to share the goals out a little bit more."
Hosts Everton will be looking to build on a strong finish to last season that saw them finish above neighbours Liverpool in seventh. The Toffees lost Jack Rodwell to Manchester City in the transfer window, but the additions of Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar should strengthen the attacking unit.
"I have always thought if you can get your recruitment done early it does make a big difference to what you do," said Everton manager David Moyes. "I am happy we've got a couple in with Naismith and Pienaar, so from that point of view we have done our business a little bit there.
"We have tried a couple of things (in pre-season) and we are always trying to look to make things better and improve. Some things haven't been as good as they should have been but I'm content with the group of players I have."
Everton's league campaigns have got off to slow starts in recent years, and Moyes is keen to avoid similar hiccups this time around.
"Over the years we have had many strange starts to the season, mainly not particularly good ones, but you can't dismiss where we tend to finish," added Moyes. "We will try to get off to a good start and try to be up at the top if we can but the opposition we have got are very hard.
"Our supporters know we will play the best we can and we will make it as competitive as we have over the years for Manchester United. It is a great opening game for us and I am really looking forward to getting started.
Everton have won just one in seven at Goodison Park against the Red Devils and that was their only victory in 14 meetings home and away. Moyes' side have lost their last four season openers. United kept 20 clean sheets last season - more than any other top-flight side.
Updated August 18, 2012