Manchester United Season Review
The season has finally come to a close, with it being an eventful one with some fantastic twists and turns. Although many teams have had very differing seasons, Manchester United have had one of particular interest. Did the team improve? Can the season be classed a success? Here we will analyse the Manchester United after a long season of football.
Manchester United Transfers
The summer brought a large amount of excitement for United fans, bringing in big names such as Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku. Matic gave the team a strength in midfield, which allowed Pogba to roam more freely and be more creative. The fee for a key component of Chelsea’s midfield was only £40m, with Matic proving to be a strong acquisition for United. Victor Lindelof was a bit of an unknown when he first arrived at the club from Benfica.
The young Swedish international has shown promise, other than a few costly mistakes for the side. One of the most costly came against Huddersfield back in October, where Lindelof ducked away from a long ball played forward by Huddersfield. This allowed Terriers striker Laurent Depoitre to calmly slot the ball past De Gea to make it 2-0. United lost that game 2-1. After some costly early mistakes, Lindelof has seen much more involvement in recent months.
Romelu Lukaku was one of the biggest signings of the transfer window, with £75m being spent on the world class striker from Everton. The striker has turned out to be an excellent buy for the team, contributing 26 goals over the course of the season. 16 of those came in the league. Still only 24, Lukaku looks to be an excellent investment for the team and has developed his ability to hold-up play. This has led to him also contributing 9 assists this season.
Although £75m is a large amount, it has seemed to be a great investment in the position. When not playing, the team certainly looked like much less of an attacking threat. Finally, the January transfer window is usually a quiet one for United, but that was not the case this year. United acquired former Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez, who has been underwhelming so far in his short Manchester United career. Sanchez has only scored 3 goals in his 17 appearances for the club.
Overall, the season has been a positive one in terms of results, with 25 wins and only 7 losses in the league. The team started the season off strongly with three successive wins. In those first three matches 10 goals were scored and 0 conceded. However, the dominance did not last long. This is in part due to the strength which rivals Manchester City have exerted over the course of the season. United ultimately finished 19 points behind City.
The team lost away to all three promoted sides in the same season for the first time in their Premier League history. Despite this, there were many positive results over the course of the season. One particular highlight was the incredible Manchester derby, where Manchester United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and deny City a Premier League title in the derby match. The team secured second place in their penultimate league match of the season against West Ham. Manchester United wrapped up their league season with a 1-0 win against Watford.
The EFL Cup was an underwhelming competition for the side. The team went out to lower league opposition Bristol City with a disappointing 2-1 loss. This was after beating both Burton Albion and Swansea. In the Champions League, the team topped their group before going out in the last 16 against a strong Sevilla side over two legs. The FA Cup proved to be a particular highlight for the side, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the semi final to progress to the final at Wembley. Winning the final remains United’s only chance of silverware this season. The final will be played on 19th May against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Manchester United have been searching for an identity and for a future away from Sir Alex Ferguson. Moyes did not deliver that future. Despite winning the FA Cup with his last match in charge of the side, Louis van Gaal did not either. The static football played by van Gaal did not lead to much promise for the future. United under van Gaal finished 5th in his first season and then 4th in his final season in charge. United have progressed under Mourinho, finishing 6th in his first season and now guiding the side to a 2nd placed finish in the league.
The team has been making steady progress, playing better football and achieving a top 3 finish for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson. Although winning less trophies than last year, the league position has greatly improved. The team finished this season with 12 points better off than last season, and aim to be improving further. Even with a 2nd placed finish in the league, this season is likely only to be judged a success if the team is victorious in the FA Cup final.