Ah, my boyhood team. There hasn’t been much to enjoy in the last three years of being a Man Utd fan.
Since SAF retired, having been in a slow decline and not finishing inside the top 3, they have now turned their hand to Mourinho.
I am still undecided if this is a good decision, having witnessed the complete breakdown of Chelsea the season before hand.
However, there are a few convincing stats which should cheer up MUFC fans.
Mourinho has never finished outside the top 3, when in control of any club for a full season. This is a fantastic achievement, it contributes to his title of ‘The Special One’.
Last season, Man Utd weren’t good enough in the final third, but this isn’t the fault of the strikers. Martial, Rashford and Rooney had very good seasons. The tactics were wrong, and the style of play far too slow for the agile, clinical strikers to have any effect.
The slow build up play of Man Utd meant that by the time they had the ball in the opposing teams half, they already had 8-9 men behind the ball. It was never going to be easy.
Mourinho has a total different play style, so the old, slow tactics will be gone along with LVG.
Mourinho has so far spent £30 million better than LVG spent £250m.
Ibrahimovic – this one speaks for itself, he is known as a ‘king”, however judgement is reserved as Falcao was annihalating the Ligue 1, before coming to the EPL and failing miserably.
Mhikytaryan – How this transfer was completed for such a small fee is beyond me, he is one of the best creators of goals, but he also has a wicked eye for goal.
Pogba is not yet confirmed but if he is re-added to the Man Utd ranks, they have to be seen as genuine contenders.
The key signing for LVG, which will take Man Utd forward is Anthony Martial. At such a young age he came into the premier league, and pretty much tore it apart!
Other signings such as Rojo, Shaw, Depay, Herrera played well throughout but didn’t really shine.
This could be down to tactics, we know LVG was very disciplined and the players may not have had the tactical freedom they crave.
Who to watch – Rooney
Rooney has a point to prove this season. He managed only 8 goals last season which can be put down to the fact that LVG saw him as a midfielder. However, Mourinho has openly said Rooney will be a striker. If he doesn’t hit the ground running, there is Ibra, Martial and Rashford all waiting for their chance to shine. If they have a season like they did last year, it could be an issue for Rooney.
Prediction – This may be thought with my heart, but I believe Man Utd can challenge this year and they should be top 2 at least. They had a great defensive record last year with the consistent De Gea in goal, so if they can start scoring goals I can’t see why they won’t win the league.
My Prediction – CHAMPIONS
Man City have risen to success very quickly, having been purchased by Sheik Manssour, to which money is no object.
They didn’t end last year as they would have liked, a lack of consistency throughout meant they were never really challenging to be champions. This in my opinion, was down to the crazy announcement that Pep would be taking over. This should have been kept quiet until the end of the season.
Pep has been strengthening his squad considerably, adding Leroy Sane, ilkay Gundogan, Nolito to the ranks.
Pep has been speaking out that the team aren’t yet up to the pace of the tactics, so I expect a slow start, but them to dominate throughout the season.
Key man – Aguero. This mastermind can carry any team, if he’s in form he will score. Nolito will offer some competition to Aguero, but I believe this will just spur him on and he will win the Top Goalscorer award.
As long as he can stay fit, he should prosper under Guardiola.
This will be a shock to many reading, as history seems to prove with Spurs that they struggle to finish above Arsenal, so it would be a strong shout to put them as contenders. However, last season for the first 30 games I believe they looked like the strongest team in the league.
They finished third last season, meaning they are automatically into the group stages of the Champions League. Is this beneficial for their attempts for the title in the 16/17 season? It’s hard to clarify, but the players will be more motivated playing in the same competition as Barcelona, Real Madrid et al, as opposed to Norwegian League 2 teams on a cold Thursday night.
They famously choked late on in the season of 15/16, but I put this down to a lack of depth. Eric Dier, for me their player of the season, was left with the responsibility of holding Spurs together. There was no alternative to Harry Kane upfront, so fatigue was inevitable
Pochettino however, has already added significant players in important positions this summer. Victor Wanyama has arrived, meaning Eric Dier may be able to have a rest every so often.
Janssen has also been purchased by the Argentinian, meaning there is a striking alternative to Harry Kane.
Spurs have bought well, adding these players into a young, pacey team including Walker, Dier, Alli, Rose & Eriksen, they need to be seen as outside contenders.
Who To Watch
Vincent Jannsen was top goal scorer in Holland last season, will he make in impact in the premier league? Could he potentially bench Harry Kane who had a horrid EURO 2016?
Spurs tend to hit the ground running, but fall short at the end of the season. Last season they lost 5-1 to Newcastle, will Champions League football be more of a burden?
arsenal didn’t finish 4th last season, which is the longstanding joke with AFC.
On a serious note, last season was their best chance to win silverware in recent years. With Chelsea faltering and Man Utd failing to find the net, the route couldn’t be easier. Yet Leicester performed flawlessly all season, earning top spot.
Arsenal, on paper have all the players required to be strong contenders, they have strength in depth, as well as one of the most consistent managers in the league.
Fitness has been an issue for Arsenal, losing Welbeck, Wilshere and Oxlade last year for most of the season meant their resources were depleted.
The only issue is that they haven’t yet done anything to reinforce the wings, they have added Xhaka who is a great centre midfielder, and there are rumours of Lacazette being the next one on his way.
I am not doubting Lacazette is great, he is a proven goal scorer. But, is this what Wenger needs? Ground, Welbeck, Walcott, Asano all line up as strikers for Wenger, who only tends to opt for one forward in a 4-5-1 formation typically.
Or is there more to this? Is it time for Walcott to go. One thing is certain, Giroud won’t be on the subs bench for long before becoming disgruntled.
If Arsenal can sort out the team fitness levels which has caused injuries over the last few years, add a Centre back and winger to the ranks and remain consistent once again, I can’t see why they shouldn’t be challenging.
However, other teams around them have increased their strengths significantly, so I see a third place finish for Arsenal this year.