It has been an underwhelming start to the season for Manchester United. Every pundit has been lining up to take a dig, too.
But it’s definitely worth noting that United are three points better off than at this stage last season, when we sat in 20th place after two games.
Here is a look at five reasons to be positive, with only one of them on display for Manchester United so far.
Andre Onana looks terrific
We wanted a new goalkeeper and we got one. And what a goalkeeper he is. Andre Onana has made an excellent start.
Onana looks strong as a shot-stopper, he is a leader, and his passing is already having a positive impact on the team.
There was a moment against Tottenham where he almost stepped up to the halfway line before pinging a diagonal ball up the pitch to Alejandro Garnacho’s feet. If he scored, it would have been one of the best assists we will see all season.
United haven’t even started maximising Onana’s talents yet. Once the team begins to get used to him, and vice versa, he will look like an even stronger asset.
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Rasmus Hojlund is coming
Manchester United need a striker, that’s been plainly obvious. Fortunately, £64 million man Rasmus Hojlund is waiting in the wings.
There is a lot of pressure on Hojlund, and that’s not ideal, but he also appears like the kind of character who will embrace it.
Hojlund is not viewed as a quick-fix, although he might be one. He has been signed as a long-term signing who will have a sustained impact for the club over the next five years plus.
Erik ten Hag’s new system looks dependent on a centre-forward. Getting one into the team will make a difference. United rank in the top three for big chances created and have won the possession back in the final third more than any other team in the Premier League. All this bodes well for Hojlund.
Amad can make an impact
Hojlund is not the only signing from Atalanta. Manchester United welcomed Amad in January 2021, and while he is out with injury, it could work in his favour.
After an impressive season out on loan, United were assessing what to do Amad this coming season. The decision has now been taken out of the club’s hands. He is sticking around, at least until January.
If his injury recovery is on or ahead of schedule, Amad will get a chance to push for a first team place from November onwards. Antony certainly needs competition on the right, and we back the young Ivorian to seize the opportunity if he gets one.
Amad is a creative player who also scored 14 goals last season on loan. He could make a big impact if United just give him a run of games.
Kobbie Mainoo is special
Kobbie Mainoo could make his return before Amad. The teenager impressed in pre-season and speaking last week, Erik ten Hag said he is already saving a first team spot for Mainoo.
If he can stay injury free and play to the same level he was in July, then Manchester United can expect big things from Mainoo this season and beyond.
The 18-year-old has a high ceiling and it is pretty much guaranteed Premier League starts will come his way. The FA Youth Cup winner looks like a special player and providing there is not too much pressure put on him, his development is going to be a big boost for the team.
Champions League football
We may already be lagging behind in the Premier League after two games, but there is another exciting competition ahead, the Champions League.
The draw will take place at the end of this month, with United returning to the competition after a year’s absence.
Erik ten Hag has a strong record in cup competitions and there is reason to be optimistic of a good run. Let’s enjoy the ride.