Manchester United win the Europa League
The road to the Super Cup starts here.
I’ve come to realize that the reason I hold such distaste for the Europa League is not because of the competition itself. It’s because it represents the inevitable “find out” consequence of Manchester United’s fucking around. It’s what follows either an annoyingly poor Champions League group stage or, in this case, a relentlessly bad and/or boring season.
So here we are, starting a new season dreading the draw of a group that we will have to google at least 25% of. In the spirit of positivity however, let’s say United draw a group that we have to google 50% of, a group that is easily winnable for a squad of rotated reserves, youngsters showing promise, and Scott McTominay. They’re able to maintain a strong first XI in the league by doing so, taking the group and guaranteeing the Round of 32 opponent likely isn’t a “wait, they’re in the Europa League this season too?” opponent.
And so they march on, collecting some nice European knockout wins, FIFA Ultimate Team Road to the Final cards, and knockout tournament confidence all they way to (googles 2023 final host city) Budapest!
There they face Jose Mourinho’s Roma side. The match begins a bit uneasy as the Romans find opportunities on the counter attack. Around 20 minutes Tammy Abraham finds the back of the net and the Italian side close up shop. Luckily Manchester United have learned how to break a team down, and they equalize before half-time through a nicely worked Anthony Martial goal, assisted by Jadon Sancho.
The second half will have some more scary moments as Pellegrini combines with Dybala and Abraham to keep Roma’s hopes alive, but as they open up they only leave room for a swift counter attack from United’s front three. Rashford gives United the lead on 70 minutes, and Sancho finishes things off in the 85th to start the party. They had Champions League qualification secured anyway via top 4 finish, so a trophy just adds good vibes to a solid first campaign under Erik ten Hag. We get some trophy ribbons to go woosh, 90+ ratings for our Road to the Final FUT cards, and a place in Pot 1 with the other winners in Europe for the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
Manchester United finish Top 3 in Premier League
I seriously wanted to make that a top-4 finish but since this is a bold prediction, I’m going to up the ante and make it a top-3 finish (there isn’t much difference though but still finishing above Chelsea is something for me). Of course, it would be a successful season under the guidance of Erik Ten Hag if he can lead The Reds to a Champions League spot for next season. I’m getting my hopes high neither for the league cup nor the F.A. Cup but for the Premier League and also the Europa League (like Colin mentioned).
Much of my prediction is based on Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure (don’t come at me now!), a wonderful season of a minimum of 30 G/A awaits for Anthony Martial who will be our main man in getting us the top 3 finish by scoring a hattrick against Chelsea and finally dropping a masterclass in both the games versus Manchester City.
I have a feeling that below-par teams like Crystal Palace, Brighton, Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest are going to give us serious trouble when we play them and that’s how the ‘rejuvenated Man United’ will lose the Premier League title to either Liverpool or Manchester City. Perhaps we will go on a winning run for 12 games in a row stemming at the top of the pile but there will be shortcomings ultimately leading to securing the third position, not bad though.
I don't have to say this but if Cristiano stays then..........ahem.........we might have a serious charge at the PL title ;) (why? what did you expect?)
Nonetheless, step aside kids! ‘ERA’S DO COME TO AN END!’
Manchester United Finish In The Top Ten
Vince Rosetta: I love Trambak’s optimism towards this season but I just can't see it. I saw this graphic and reality hit me. We aren't a top 4, or 6 team, barely hanging on as a top 10 team.
It's a new season, but I still can't help but think it is going to be just like the last two seasons. Another season of hopes being dashed by January
Our signings have been lackluster, to say the least, one of the most famous players to ever wear a United jersey literally is willing to sit out a whole season instead of playing for United.
For a while, I was “angry” at Ronaldo, but after thinking about it, I can't blame him. He has what, two or three seasons left if that. Why on earth would you want to play for a mid-table team?
You are Ronaldo for crying out loud. Keep putting his pictures on all the jerseys and milk that cash cow as much as you can, but don't punish him for wanting to win.
I hope I'm wrong on this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if the players revolt by the end of the season. We have all seen the training footage of Ten Hag yelling and cussing at the players, I wonder how long it is going to take that novelty to wear off.
Remember, United is a team of prima donnas who don't take kindly to being yelled at like a middle schooler. We all saw the result last year when the players simply say “I’m done”. I hope this doesn't happen this year.
Back to my prediction, Chelsea, City, Spurs, and Liverpool are years ahead of where we are at in terms of talent and new signings. We are a ship just drifting, they have a course.
Look at the likes of Villa, Arsenal, and West Ham and I could easily see them above us at the end of the season.
So yeah, I hope for a top 10 finish this season
- Manchester City
- West Ham
- Manchester United
Manchester United win the Premier League
The England Women’s team has just overseen the benefits of Dutch excellence after an exceptional Euros where they displayed great skill, tactical flexibility and resilience. The Manchester United men’s team will do the same in 2022/23.
Look, bold predictions are a great way to spin best-case scenarios. If we’re going to enjoy a successful season, we’ll need to retain some of the good stuff from the previous years because most of the players are still around and add some new things. I genuinely believe that’s possible.
The threat in attacking transitions was just not there for the whole of last season, which wasn’t surprising when you consider some of the personnel changes in the starting XI. With Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford looking like mainstays again, we’ll be seeing more of that once again.
They’ll also be partnered by Jadon Sancho, who was actually quite good against Manchester City and Liverpool in the away games. You’re suddenly looking at the potential for a better big game record and a better away record, two of the bigger factors when we made top-4 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first two seasons.
Inheriting this counter-attacking threat is something every manager would welcome. Ten Hag’s been hired to help United impose their game, break team downs and turn Old Trafford into a fortress again. This is something no manager post-Sir Alex has managed and why they’ve ultimately been shown the door.
Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Christian Eriksen and Jadon Sancho have had some of the best creative numbers in the last couple of seasons. That will help. United are likely going to win the ball a lot higher to fashion easier goal-scoring chances. That will help. In Lisandro Martinez and Diogo Dalot, they have two players that can get the ball from back to front better than the guys they’ll be replacing. Add Frenkie de Jong to that, who I believe is coming, and that’s a team that can take the game to Liverpool at Anfield. That will help.
I’m not too worried about set-pieces. We strangely improved on that last season and I think the team will defend better as a unit going forward. I think we’ll be putting out a good XI on most weeks.
Injuries to certain players will be a little concerning but that goes for every side and it helps that some of the players Ten Hag seems to be targeting (has already got through the door) are capable of playing in different areas.
I also think Cristiano Ronaldo will leave and we’ll get ourselves an actual centre-forward before the window ends; someone who’ll give the side what Edinson Cavani bought to the side, while also being available for most games and young enough to not threaten Martial’s place.
So yea, that’s how 21 is coming.
Jadon Sancho will be Manchester United’s best player
Just look at those tekkers. It’s going to be a fun season.
I absolutely admire my colleagues’ optimism for this season. Like Suwaid, I hope that United can miraculously win the Premier League this season, and I agree with Colin that we’ll probably win the Europa League, but I’m afraid of getting my hopes destroyed for yet another season. You never know what to expect from this club, so I’m going with a not-so-really-bold prediction that I’m absolutely confident: this is going to be Jadon Sancho’s breakout season, and he will be Manchester United’s best player.
If you’ve had the pleasure of watching Erik ten Hag implement his new system to the team during preseason, you’ve most definitely noticed that Sancho looks miles improved from his form last season. We saw shades of his quality last season that we all know he possesses from his days at Borussia Dortmund, but he came into preseason ready to make some noise and show the world just how talented he is.
Despite being bought to solve United’s issue on the right wing, Sancho was used by former managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick on the left wing. However, ten Hag has opted to use Sancho on the right wing in a possession-based, attacking system since taking charge this summer, which has played heavily into the favor of a highly-technical player like 22-year-old forward.
I knew we were in for a treat this season when he scored 12 minutes into United’s match against Liverpool in Bangkok and created multiple chances to multiply the lead. Just take a look at my reaction to his performance early in that match:
It's just 25 minutes into the preseason tour and Jadon Sancho has already scored and nearly created a couple other goals against Liverpool down the right wing. He's looking like the most dangerous player on the field #mufc— Christopher Williams (@ByChrisWilliams) July 12, 2022
The 22-year-old continued his impressive form throughout the tour, scoring three goals in four matches and playing a massive role in the build up to many of United’s other goals. I’m excited to see how he plays in a team featuring the likes of Christian Eriksen, an incredibly talented and highly-technical midfielder, who fits into ten Hag’s system perfectly and will complement Sancho’s style of play, allowing him to further unleash his talent down the wing and beautifully combine with teammates in the final third to create scoring chances.
Premier League left backs better be on high alert this season when No. 25 in red has the ball on the right wing. Whether it’s combining with teammates down the wing, skillfully taking defenders on, whipping crosses into the box, creating scoring opportunities, or scoring goals, Sancho is going to do it all this season and show England why the €85 million United paid for him last summer is actually a bargain for a player of his quality. His performance in the first half of the season will then give England manager Gareth Southgate no other choice but to select in him the Three Lions’ World Cup squad this winter.
I genuinely believe Sancho will be one of the best forwards in the world in the years to come, and it all starts right here, right now, this season under ten Hag at Old Trafford.
Donny van de Beek is entering his final two seasons at Old Trafford
After two years of watching Donny van de Beek do absolutely nothing the optimist view is that being reunited with the manager that got the best out of his at Ajax should mean that Manchester United will start to see a new Donny. That’s the optimistic view. Unfortunately reality seems to be pointing in a different direction.
Though most of preseason should be taken with a grain of salt the worrying trends we’ve seen from the first two years of Van de Beek have continued. It starts with, what position does he play? Over his first two years Van de Beek was constantly moved around between a number 10, an attacking midfielder, and a pivot player. He never got a chance to develop in one particular area.
If the idea was Erik Ten Hag knows exactly where he wants to play him, that hasn’t shown. During United’s preseason Van de Beek played as the number 10 when playing with United’s second XI, deeper in the pivot next to Fred when playing with the first team, and some minutes as a number 8 in more of a 4-3-3. That’s not a convincing statement from the manager.
On the pitch Van de Beek seems to be regressing. He continues to get more and more passive - comparisons have been made with the progression of Tom Cleverley. That would be a concern on it’s own but even more so when you realize he’s not even playing like an academy graduate of Ajax would. On multiple occasions this pre season Van de Beek has followed the path of the ball after making a pass, something that would have been beaten out of him at Ajax before he turned 10 years old. The one thing it seemed like Ten Hag was doing this pre-season was giving Van de Beek every chance in the world to climb above Scott McTominay in the midfield pecking order yet every time Van de Beek greeted that opportunity with another meh performance.
Something has never sat right with me about the Donny van de Beek transfer. Ajax had just sold three key players from their 2019 team for vast sums of money yet were willing to let Donny go for peanuts. The deal only took a week to complete - Ajax held out a lot longer for Lissandro Martinez and have refused to budge on Antony - it almost seemed like they were eager to let Donny walk out. I’ve always had the hunch that if an offer came in for him Erik Ten Hag would not stand in his way of leaving Old Trafford. Because of that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Van de Beek leave on loan again this January or leave for good this summer. But barring an incredible turnaround in his fortunes this season, it’s hard to see him getting the opportunities that’ll satisfy his desire to play, and he’ll be looking to leave in the next two years.