It feels like it’s hardly been away but the Premier League returns this weekend.
Manchester United’s Europa League excursions in August mean a delayed start to our season, but there are eight top flight fixtures across the next three days.
That means it’s time for pundits to make their predictions about how United will get on in 2020/21.
Title challenge on the horizon?
BBC asked 24 of their top pundits for their top four predictions.
Former England international Chris Waddle was the only one who thought United would win a 21st Premier League title.
“There are a lot of games jammed into this season and I am looking at the teams with the biggest squads as the ones who will do well. I don’t think Liverpool will cope.
“City will, of course, but I just have a sneaky feeling United will spring a surprise. They already have a lot of quality on their books, and they might sign a couple more.”
Almost unanimous agreement
For much of last season, it didn’t look like United were going to get into the top four.
We did, and now 23 of the 24 feel we’ll repeat the feat in 2020/21.
Only Ian Wright, with his huge Arsenal connections, predicted United wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League again, putting his beloved Gunners in fourth place again.
Micah Richards, Chris Sutton, Lyndsay Johnson, Mark Lawrenson and Dion Dublin all said United would come third.
The other 17 believe we’re set for a fourth place finish, one down on last season’s effort.
Chelsea’s eye-catching spending spree – combined with United’s relative inactivity has seemingly played a major part.
That said, Solskjaer appeared to take a swipe at the Blues earlier this week with comments about new players not necessarily always gelling.
One thing United do have now is an established first eleven, which allows partnerships and understandings to grow.
Never write United off
Although many rational United fans won’t be expecting a title challenge this season, they also know it’s never an especially good idea to write United off.
Solskjaer had that spirit drummed into him as a player. He would relish in proving the critics wrong and reveling in their relative lack of expectation.
He will just be hoping for the necessary reinforcements before the transfer deadline passes.
Manchester United’s first six fixtures of 2020/21
- Crystal Palace (H)
September 19 – 5.30pm
- Brighton and Hove Albion (A)
September 26 – 12.30pm
- Tottenham Hotspur (H)
October 3 – 3pm
- Newcastle United (A)
October 17 – 3pm
- Chelsea (H)
October 24 – 3pm
- Arsenal (H)
October 31 – 3pm