Desailly, writing for the Observer, said: “This is going to be Manchester United’s season and I’ve been saying it ever since the campaign started. Football goes in cycles and I just don’t think Chelsea can be as dominant as they were in the last two seasons. They seem to be finding it more difficult to win games. There’s not the same stream-roller effect as we have seen in the past couple of years – they’re winning less easily.
“This is not surprising. When you are in Chelsea’s position, everyone wants to beat you, all your opponents are extra motivated: you have become a scalp. The extra aggression that opposing teams will find for matches against Chelsea is significant and it may cost them six or seven points over a season.
“Sir Alex Ferguson’s team had the same thing going on not so long ago. But now they are in the position of being the underdogs and that can be a big positive. There is almost a goodwill factor in United’s favour, which just goes to show how quickly things can change in football.”