Although Manchester United finished second last season, they still ended up 12 points behind Manchester City. Do they have what it takes to bridge the gap this time around?
• Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
• Stadium: Old Trafford
• Last Season: 2nd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had his critics, but there is no denying that he has improved Man Utd. In fact, the Red Devils have finished sixth, third and second under the Norwegian’s watch.
A little bit of @PaulPogba 🔥#MUFC #UnitedOnTikTok pic.twitter.com/mP6skXsHNI
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 5, 2021
With Jadon Sancho on board and Raphael Varane close to signing, Man Utd will be even stronger this year.
• What Happened Last Season?
No team in the Premier League lost fewer games than Man Utd last term. Solskjaer’s men suffered just six defeats all season, picking up 21 wins and 11 draws along the way.
Not only were the Red Devils the second-highest scorers in the division, but they also finished the campaign with the fifth-best defensive record.
United also made it all the way to the Europa League final, only to fall at the last hurdle to Spanish side Villarreal.
• Players In
• Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund (£76.50m)
• Tom Heaton – Aston Villa (Free)
Behind Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire, Sancho is the third-most expensive signing in Man Utd’s history. The England winger is a fantastic addition, having notched 50 goals and 64 assists for Borussia Dortmund.
Tom Heaton could also prove to be a shrewd acquisition, offering solid backup to David De Gea and Dean Henderson in the goalkeeper department.
Judging by recent reports, it is only a matter of days before Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane completes his move to Old Trafford.
• Players Out
• Joel Pereira – RKC Waalwijk (Free)
• Tahith Chong – Birmingham City (Loan)
• Facundo Pellistri – Alaves (Loan)
• Sergio Romero – Released
There have been no major departures from Man Utd this summer. Sergio Romero has been released, while a couple of youngsters have left on loan.
• Manchester United’s Key Player
Bruno Fernandes – Without Bruno Fernandes, Man United are a different team. Since arriving at the club, the Portuguese playmaker has bagged 40 goals and 25 assists in 80 appearances.
High vibes in our Scotland camp. Nice few days with the lads 💪 #mufc pic.twitter.com/X1kOv8ndwR
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) August 5, 2021
If Fernandes can pick up where he left off last season (28 goals and 17 assists in 58 appearances), he could take United to the next level.
• What Can Manchester United Achieve in 2021/22?
Although Man Utd have plenty of world-class players, it still feels as though they are behind Man City in the Premier League pecking order.
It could be argued that Solskjaer’s side are a world-class defensive midfielder away from challenging for the title, meaning they may have to settle for second best again this term.