Man Utd season preview 2017-18: Will the Red Devils finally get back their glory days?

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Jose Mourinho enters his second season as Manager of Man Utd with high hopes. His side have shown signs of promise in the last season. Although they underperformed given their high standards, United did manage to win 2 major trophies last season. Can Jose Mourinho light up Old Trafford with his acclaimed ‘Second Season Syndrome’?
What does 2017/18 have in store for Manchester United?

 

Let’s assess the formation, positives and negatives to expect from United’s 2017/18 season.

Formation:

Man Utd head into the 2017/18 campaign after a successful pre-season that saw only one defeat. Mourinho has acted quickly in the transfer window with the smart signings of Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic. While he is spoilt for choice for attacking and defensive options, the formation we can expect Mourinho to employ more often would be his reliable 4-3-3, which can be altered into a 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1 depending on the dynamics of the game.

The signing of Matic could mean a more advanced role for Paul Pogba. Lukaku could be partnered by Rashford or Martial in the attack, giving rise to the 4-4-2 formation in the process. Matic has the ability of playing as the lone defensive midfielder, and when the team has to push for goals, this could help Mourinho change his system to a 4-1-4-1. Lindelof and Bailly look to be the defensive partnership that Mourinho would like to have at the back.

 

Positives:

    • Keeping all the ‘de Gea to Madrid’ rumours at bay has been a huge positive for Man Utd in the transfer window. Much of last seasons’ transfer window saw the coveted keeper being courted by Real Madrid. While this didn’t have an effect on de Gea, the rumours are sure to unsettle any footballer.

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  • The midfield trio of Matic, Herrera and Pogba will most likely be Mourinho’s preferred choice next season. While Michael Carrick has been named as club captain for the next season, we shouldn’t expect him to feature heavily. This midfield combination is sure to bring the best out of every player. In Matic, Mourinho has a resolute central defensive midfielder who can snap at heels and make life more difficult for the opposition midfielders with his pressing ability. In Herrera, Matic has his perfect partner in crime as the two can work together in not giving the opposition time and space on the ball. With Herrera and Matic at the defensive duties, Pogba can contribute to attack without having to track back.

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  • Last season saw most of the players being on the fringes. Martial, Shaw etc all have a point to prove this season. After a successful preseason, Martial may have staked a claim to a place in the starting XI for next season. One can only hope that some of the underperformers step up their game and provide the much-needed competition and strength in depth. It would be a huge bonus if these players could add value to an already impressive looking Manchester United lineup.

 

Negatives:

 

Many expected Jose Mourinho to assume transfer duties and land his players in time before the beginning of next season. However, as the window has progressed, it was evident that Mourinho was not happy with Man Utd’s apparent shortcomings in the transfer window. Mourinho has expressed displeasure with the way transfers happen of late, blaming the market in the process. It is evident that Mourinho wanted the transfer dealings to be done well before the season starts next week to help incorporate the new signings into his team. With Jose looking to add another player, preferably a winger to his ranks, it would be interesting to see how he gels him into his team.

 

Predicted Finish: Title contenders

Key Players: Lukaku, Rashford and Pogba