Manchester United have begun the season well and belief is filtering back to Old Trafford again.
Nobody is kidding themselves about a title challenge just yet, and squad deficiencies are still glaringly obvious.
There are clear reasons to be optimistic, so many in fact, that we have compiled a list. Enjoy…
Anthony Martial is back
Our number 9. Anthony Martial has moved back into a central striker’s role and he is grabbing his chance.
He has two goals in two games and looks like he could be the player we hoped he might become.
There’s a strong chance he passes the 20 goal mark for the first time.
The defence is strong
The biggest problem this summer was improving a defence which conceded 54 times in the Premier League last season, more than Newcastle.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire look tremendous already and have made a big difference.
The back four picks itself, and there is strength in depth with Dalot and Tuanzebe if needed.
United may have weaknesses in midfield, but a strong platform at the back means this won’t be exposed as much.
United held onto Paul Pogba
If we were not going to buy a central midfielder, then keeping hold of our best one was essential.
Despite the rumours, Pogba stayed put, and he has begun the season well, with two assists.
If we achieve anything this season, Pogba will play a major part.
Picked up lost points
Last season United drew with Chelsea at Old Trafford and lost to Wolves.
So getting four points from those two fixtures this season is better than just one last.
When we wobbled against Wolves in midweek, the new look defence rallied, instead of crumbling.
In theory the games get a bit easier from here, with Palace and then Southampton up next.
Pace in attack
Dan James gives United a dangerous option going forward which puts opponents on the backfoot.
He still has to refine his game, but his quality was clear against Chelsea when he scored his debut goal.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are no slouches either, and the mobile, versatile forward line is a danger for defences. Its already an upgrade on last season.
It’s clear what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to do. He wants a British core to the squad, and a young one.
Young players will get chances, and Solskjaer’s pressing, counter attacking game is made for the modern era.
Having a clear plan is essential if United are going to reach the top of English football once again.
Plenty in reserve
Several United players haven’t even got started yet. Fred and Diogo Dalot have not featured, while Mason Greenwood has barely had a kick as a substitute.
Young players like Tahith Chong, James Garner and Angel Gomes are just the tip of the iceberg from the academy.
We could be talking about Ethan Laird, Brandon Williams and Dylan Levitt a lot more by the end of the season.
Signs of ruthlessness
While it was hard to sell unwanted players this summer, Solskjaer has been ruthless in his team selections.
Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian have not made any squads, leaving little doubt over their futures.
Not just two games
United’s start to the campaign has not come out of nowhere. It follows on from a successful pre-season.
United won every game and looked good doing so, with young players featuring prominently.
The start to the season is continuation of that groundwork, and concentration on improved fitness.
Requirements are obvious
Through just two games, its clear United need to sign an attacking midfielder.
As the season goes on, this will expose itself as obviously as the need to sign a right-back became last season.
United can’t ignore it, and might even end up rectifying it as soon as January.
- Have United made an expensive miscalculation over Sancho?
- Europa League glory would be pivotal for United
- Mason Greenwood sends message to James Garner
- Luca Ercolani makes comeback for under-23s one year after ACL tear
- Rumoured Pereira and Garner exits make it important United sign new midfielder