The 21/22 season looks like one of the most exciting campaigns in recent memory. Both Manchester clubs, as well as Chelsea, should all be up there challenging for the title, and for United fans in particular I think there are several reasons why we should be positive. So, here are my five main reasons why we should be optimistic going into this season.
The signing of Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho is a fantastic addition to the side. There isn’t a player at the club who you could say is definitely more talented than him – he is immensely gifted. Not only that, his strengths are exactly what we need. With Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood usually playing on the wings the squad has very often lacked a wide creative player and Sancho solves that issue – he assisted 20 goals last season while netting 16 of his own in 38 appearances, these are frankly ridiculous numbers.
He’ll help us score more goals in any type of game but especially when playing against teams that sit back and restrict space, (Teams who we’ve often struggled against) he’ll make a huge difference. At 21, he is no doubt a world-class talent, and even at his age, he adds a whole new dimension to our attack. Sancho is a player to be very, very excited about.
Raphael Varane’s arrival and the potential of a world class CB partnership
Raphael Varane is yet another exceptional signing. It was clear last season that while Victor Lindelof is a good defender, he isn’t quite a top class. While being great on the ball and reliable positionally, sometimes he has issues with not being quite dominant or aggressive enough aerially or when facing stronger, more physical strikers. He isn’t a particularly fitting partner for Harry Maguire either, since the captain preferably needs someone to make up for his slow running speed.
Varane however is one of the fastest elite-level center backs in Europe, and in the 91st percentile in his position for the percentage of aerial duels he wins. He’s as aerially (And physically) dominant as they come.
Not to mention he adds a ton of winning experience which the team lacked before – with four UEFA Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, a World Cup, and more, he would easily be the most decorated player in the team. The Frenchman also has an unbelievable record in the cup finals, in the ten he has played he has managed to lift the trophy in all of them. This kind of bottle will be massive for a team that has struggled to get over the line in big cup games in recent years.
The squad and the manager is ready
In my opinion, this is easily the best and most likable squad United have had in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, multiple others along with the two new signings, we have one of the best players in the league in almost every position. There is real squad depth too, and in the vast majority of situations if a first-team player got injured they would be able to be replaced without a worrying downgrade. This is the first time we can say this in years.
I also believe the manager is a very fitting one for this team. Ole has shown, despite the lack of trophies so far, a genuine knowledge of how to move this squad forward and it has shown in both the increased points tally as well as the increased quality of the playing squad.
The addition of a set piece coach
In July, Manchester United announced they made a new addition to the first team coaching set up in Eric Ramsay. He is said to be a very talented coach and has taken responsibility for the team’s set-piece training as well as working one on one with players in order to improve different parts of their game.
Particularly last season, it was more than evident that one of the team’s standout weaknesses was set plays. United consistently conceded goals from corners as well as free kicks, and it got to a point where fans thought “Here we go again” every time the Red Devils faced one. Including penalties, United conceded a total of 14 goals from set-pieces last season, accounting for a whole third of the goals let in – which is quite shocking, to say the least. However, if Ramsay does the job he is expected and was brought in to do, United should improve noticeably in these areas this season.
The Everton win
The 4-0 victory versus Everton in pre-season was nothing short of emphatic and not to mention three of our four goals were from set-pieces, which was something unheard of last season. It was the first game most of United’s preferred first 11 players played and they smashed it out of the park. While on another day the final score could have been quite different, the first-half performance (Before the team was changed) was something to behold – the positivity and energy on and off the ball was something I didn’t expect to see from a side that is supposed to be lacking match fitness.
Of course, it was only a friendly but this was hopefully a taster of what we’ll see in competitive matches, and if we can see more of that this season then there’s no reason not to be positive.
There are far more than five reasons, but these were the ones I felt were most important. I feel United has a great chance of winning silverware this season which is fantastic, and I can’t wait for the season to start.