Manchester United’s season preview and expected challenges next season
The new Premier League season brings with it a sense of excitement and optimism for Manchester United fans, with hopes that the Old Trafford club are set to return to their glory days.
It has been a tough slog for the club and their loyal supporters since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years ago, but the collective feeling is one of positivity as 2016-17 beckons.
Jose Mourinho is a somewhat controversial selection to replace the underwhelming Louis van Gaal but it is difficult to argue with the outspoken Portuguese trainer’s record of success.
With four prestigious new faces signed at considerable expense this summer also, United enter the season as one of the favourites to win glory according to My Betting Bonus.
The world-record signature of Paul Pogba from Juventus this week acts as a statement of intent and shows that the Old Trafford side can still compete with the best sides in the world.
The France international, along with fellow summer recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan, will change the dynamic of a United midfield that has been lacking in recent campaigns.
As it stands, the club’s cross-town rivals City are favourites to be crowned Premier League champions in 2016-17 at odds of 9/4, but United are a close second on 3/1.
Mourinho’s major challenge will be to manage expectations and assimilate the new faces into the existing squad that he has inherited.
The Portuguese coach has shown that he is not scared of making major decisions by banishing World Cup winning veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger and team selection will be interesting come the opening fixture against Bournemouth this weekend.
One man that would not take well to being dropped is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has moved to the Premier League club from Paris Saint-Germain.
The Swedish striker will add a potency and clinical edge to the Red Devils’ attack that has been missing over the last 12 months in particular and English defences will have trepidations at the prospect of trying to contain the mercurial Scandinavian.
A task for Mourinho will be to manage established star Ibrahimovic and prodigious talents Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, with the attacking system he will use of real interest.
The Swede is fancied by the bookmakers to make an immediate impression in the Premier League, with odds of 9/1 seeing the star third favourite to top the scoring charts next term behind Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane.
At the other end of the pitch, David De Gea remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world and the signing of Eric Bailly offers an extra option at centre-half.
Mourinho’s teams are reputably solid in defence and shoring up the club’s backline will go a long way to securing success.
Qualification for the Champions League will be an absolute minimum for United in 2016-17, but the furore around the club, especially given Pogba’s signing, means that a major title push is expected.