Another season of dominance domestically (& in Europe) inbound?
Welcome back to ‘The 2019-20 Premier League Season Preview’ – a feature series that previews all 20 clubs of the Premier League ahead of the new football season.
It’s time to go from the blue side of Manchester to the red and check out… Manchester United.
MANAGER: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
CAPTAIN: Ashley Young
ODDS TO WIN THE LEAGUE: 33-1 (via Oddschecker)
In the six previous seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United have never been the same dominant force in England. Despite success here and there (FA Cup, Carabao Cup and UEFA Europa League), The Red Devils have lost their mystique. They’ve lost their sense of invincibility. They were top of the mountain. Now? They’re trying to just hang staying on the mountain.
Season number seven of the ‘post-Ferguson’ era has arrived and it is now the turn of Ole Gunnar Solskjær to try to break the vicious cycle. The Norwegian’s challenge is to succeed where David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho (to an extent) failed – begin a rebuild of the club that was joined-up and catered for the short and long-term before finally leaving the gilded Ferguson era in sepia by creating a new, successful Man Utd.
HOW THEY FINISHED IN THE LAST FIVE SEASONS
2014-15 – 4th (Premier League)
2015-16 – 5th (Premier League)
2016-17 – 6th (Premier League)
2017-18 – 2nd (Premier League)
2018-19 – 6th (Premier League)
Premier League – 6th
UEFA Champions League – Quarter-Finals
FA Cup – Third Round
Carabao Cup – Quarter-Finals
Top Scorer – League: Paul Pogba (13), All: Paul Pogba (16)
Harry Maguire (Leicester City – £80m)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace – £50m)
Daniel James (Swansea City – £15m)
Ander Herrera (Paris Saint-Germain – Free Transfer)
Antonio Valencia (LDU Quito – Free Transfer)
GK – de Gea, Grant, Romero, Joel Pereira
DF – Lindelöf, Bailly, Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Young, Dalot, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Wan-Bissaka, Darmian, Tuanzebe, Maguire
MD – Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Matić, McTominay, Gomes
FW – Sánchez, Lukaku, Rashford, Martial, Chong, Greenwood
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR – MASON GREENWOOD
So good that he is already better than Marcus Rashford.
So good that he that United are considering selling Romelu Lukaku.
So good that he is capable of leading the United frontline… now.
Those are the thoughts of many United fans and respected experts within the game when it comes to Mason Greenwood.
Mason Greenwood offered a small beacon of light for Manchester United supporters as the darkness of a sobering season consumed Old Trafford on the final day of the 2018/19 campaign.
And many expect Greenwood to be the brightest light of them all at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ in no time.
HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAINST CHELSEA
Matches played – 183
Won – 78
Drawn – 51
Lost – 54
HOW MUCH OF A THREAT WILL THEY BE TO CHELSEA?
Man Utd will definitely pose a threat to Chelsea over the season as they both are expected to challenge for a top 4 spot in the Premier League, ensuring qualification for the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League.
But how much of a threat? We shall see on the opening day…
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Despite the improvement in recruitment with the likes of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka coming in, and having a very solid spine that includes David de Gea and Paul Pogba amongst others, the core problem that Solskjær will face – just like every manager has since Ferguson retired – is building and gelling a squad capable of being a threat once again in the most competitive league in the world.
The ‘old’ United is gone. How will it be before the ‘new’ one captures the spirit of once before? It’s going to be a little while longer, methinks…
Predicted position: 5th
Come back for part 13 as we go further up north of England and check out the Magpies at… Newcastle United.
• Part 1 – Arsenal
• Part 2 – Aston Villa
• Part 3 – Bournemouth
• Part 4 – Brighton & Hove Albion
• Part 5 – Burnley
• Part 6 – Chelsea
• Part 7 – Crystal Palace
• Part 8 – Everton
• Part 9 – Leicester City
• Part 10 – Liverpool
• Part 11 – Manchester City