We welcome back the new season with open arms. We’ve all missed it dearly, and we can now begin our overly optimistic outlook on our teams chances to pose a title challenge. Manchester United’s transfer activity has been positive and importantly, we hope, effective. We were desperate for a strong CB, an influential CDM and a prolific CF – and we’ve hit every target (all the signings Arsenal needed if you don’t mind me adding). Having watched my team get ripped apart by an elite Real Madrid side in the UEFA Super Cup, the heights required to compete in Europe have become abundantly obvious and out of reach. On that note however, I certainly believe Mourinho is leading us in the right direction.
We’re capable of competing for the Premier League this year – fact. I may not be as confident as Tim who boldly tipped us as table topping champions in this weeks Sofa Sports Podcast. Unfortunately having this level of faith is an emotional rollercoaster I’d be scared to open myself up to at this early stage. I am beginning to believe mind you – but I need more convincing.
My three pillar reference from an article I wrote last year raised the need for the 3 important structures I chose to be required of a team to compete. 1) an effective spine 2) a hero to stand up and count 3) confidence to run high. With the arrival of Matic and Lukaku, I would edge closer to ticking this box, providing Lukaku can bang in 20+ goals. Our hero is yet to be identified, and I have the highest hopes for Pogba to step up to this role. Optimistically, in theory, with our current squad and manager, the confidence ought to flow freely. Only time will tell and I am eagerly looking forward to our opener this Sunday against West Ham. Let’s give our fans something to shout about at Old Trafford early on this season.
My predictions, often wrong, tip Manchester City’s Jesus to be the leagues best performer this campaign. I rate their young Leroy Sane highly too. I can see Chelsea’s Fabregas to be given a bigger role in the starting line up with the sale of Matic (which still baffles me). Speaking of Matic, I sense he will be the signing of the season in terms of value for money. His balance and calmness on and off the ball fills the void left by Carrick, who unfortunately cannot sustain a week in week out contribution, given his age. The role of protecting the defence, breaking up the opposing attacks and keeping our attacks alive will prove to be massively relied upon. It will undoubtably contribute to our title challenge. It’s a huge season for Luke Shaw, Martial and Mkhitaryan, and an exciting one for Rashford.
The supporter in me wants to give United the title – but the reality check suggests we will need another year to gel and develop before posing a true threat. This along with the acquisition of a wide creative right midfield player with some flair, which I feel we lack.