Premier League 2020/21: Manchester United Season Preview
2019-20 finish: 3rd (18W-12D-8L, 66 points)
Head coach: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
2019-20 PL top scorer: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford (Scored 17 PL goals each)
Other Trophies: None
Manchester United made a terrific turnaround in the Premier League last season. After a poor run of form initially, the Red Devils finally found their groove after Bruno Fernandes' arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January. Even though Champions League qualification looked like a distant dream for them at that point, Bruno's arrival completely changed Manchester United's fortunes. The 26-year-old infused a new life into United's midfield and brought about a much-needed cohesion between their attack and defence.
The Red Devils went on a 14-game unbeaten run towards the closing stages of the Premier League last season and that sums up how good they were. Yes, they still couldn't win any silverware, but to make a comeback from such a bad situation and still finish third in the competition speaks volumes about the talent and ability of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's young squad. This performance has given them immense confidence and they will only look to carry it forward into this season.
Issues Manchester United faced last season
One of the major issues they faced towards the first half of the previous season was the lack of a creative force in the midfield. Paul Pogba was injured for that period but the problem got sorted out once Fernandes arrived. Pogba formed a lethal partnership with him once he got fit as well. Another major issue was the myriad of mistakes made by their defenders and David de Gea, who is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
The defence let down the forwards and midfielders on multiple occasions and that's something Solskjaer needs to concentrate on resolving this time around. It's not that they don't have quality players in defence. The likes of Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and others are amongst the best defenders in the world. All they need to figure out is a way to work together as a unit on a consistent basis.
Have the issues been resolved this season?
The midfield has been strengthened further with the acquisition of Donny van de Beek from Ajax. If Paul Pogba leaves United this summer, Solskjaer now has a quality replacement for him. The arrival of Dean Henderson after his memorable loan spell at Sheffield United is good news for the Red Devils as well. If de Gea shows no signs of improving in the initial few games of the season, Solskjaer can always rely on the young Henderson to take over the role. While these two boxes have already been ticked, the Manchester United boss is probably on the hunt for a reliable defender in the transfer market now. A quality addition to the squad will only strengthen the back four.
Predictions for Manchester United's 2020/21 season
It would probably be too early to ask Manchester United for a Premier League title, for they are yet to reach Manchester City and Liverpool's levels. However, a top-four or even a top-three finish is definitely on the cards, and if the youngsters can be consistent enough, they could even end up winning at least one of the other silverwares.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff