With the Premier League starting this weekend, Manchester United are going into a season where more people expect them to win the title than in 2016-17
It will be a rough ride towards the 21st championship in United’s history and Jose Mourinho’s players will have to improve many things in manager’s second season at the club.
United To Score Goals On A Regular Basis
It is striking how poor Man United were in this category. They had troubles scoring goals regularly against weaker sides, being unable to win too many matches at Old Trafford. United scored just 54 times in 38 matches, one less than Bournemouth and staggering 32 less than Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester’s record at home was eight wins, 10 draws and one loss. It is unacceptable for them to be so poor at Old Trafford, especially when the relegated Hull City managed to win eight times at their KCom stadium.
With the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, United should score more goals, but the rest of the squad will need to sharpen themselves in the final third, if United are to reach any of the top three spots in May.
Champions League Football
Manchester United will be back in the Champions League after winning Europa League. The Reds will be playing tougher oppositions than Zorya Luhansk or Saint-Etienne and they need to up their game.
United will be more tested than last season and two matches per week will be a bigger task than last year, with Mourinho probably rotating less than in Europa League. It will be a stage where a good run of matches could increase the appetites among United fans should they reach at least the quarter final stage.
Paul Pogba will want to show himself in the best possible way in a competition he already almost won in 2015. Lukaku’s first season among the elite clubs should give us a better perspective of how far he could go and more experienced players like Antonio Valencia, David De Gea and Nemanja Matic will have to steer the team safely towards the knock-out stages for starters.
More Players Need To Shine
During last season, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic was apparently great all season long and this year that has to change. United are aiming higher and more players need to shine. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial must give zest to this time, their youth great and flair an asset in making things happen in opposition’s box.
Lukaku is expected to score loads of goals, while Pogba will have to be much better if he is to vindicate himself from the £89m tag. He has to both score and assist more often, while Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan already showed last season they can contribute when given time.
Defensively, United were pretty solid throughout the season. Winning two of the three cup competitions (Community Shield excluded) and having the second best defensive record in the league. They will need to show maturity in the Champions League matches, especially as United could play Real Madrid, Juventus or Bayern Munich this fall.
It should be a more interesting ride than it was last season, mostly in the Premier League, but the Champions League anthem returns at Old Trafford, as well.