The transfer window is done and dusted and now the focus can turn to the Premier League kicking off.
United begin on Sunday at 4.30pm against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Ahead of the season, United In Focus‘ writers got together to preview the upcoming campaign.
What have you made of the club’s summer business?
Sam Preston: The incomings have been good. Solskjaer has made it clear he wants younger, hungry British players with good attitudes and he’s got three.
I’d have liked to have seen far more outgoings, but it seems Woodward has priced out many suitors by asking for big money for players who are already on high wages.
That might cost us later on because the squad needs a proper clearout to enable a culture change.
Vince Ralph: All three signings have been impressive but we needed more. Wan-Bissaka and Maguire will transform United’s defence and James brings the kind of pace Old Trafford hasn’t seen for years.
But selling Romelu Lukaku without signing a replacement seems foolish (even with the presence of Mason Greenwood) and our midfield is worryingly weak.
A player like Declan Rice would have been ideal to replace the ageing Matic, while a goal-scoring midfielder was a must-buy, especially if Pogba plays in a more withdrawn role.
Dan Coombs: To be honest I am stunned by the decision not to sign a midfielder and it takes the shine off what was shaping up as a good window.
Wan-Bissaka is a huge addition, the best signing of all three.
I would have loved us to sign Bruno Fernandes. It feels like United left the job half done.
How impressed are you by pre-season?
Sam: The results have been good but what’s more pleasing is the evidence of more running, tempo and energy in our play.
The most important aspect was always going to be Solskjaer getting the players fitter so they can cope with his style of play and the indications are that he’s done that. Time will tell, but the signs are good, especially when you considering that 12 months ago, Jose Mourinho was rocking the boat throughout the summer.
Vince: Pre-season was an indicator that Solskjaer’s methods are paying off. Young players have regularly been included in United’s summer tours but this time they made a massive impact and I can’t help but feel excited for the new campaign.
Dan: In terms of results and style, we could not have asked for anything more. Solskjaer delivered and it is encouraging.
The youngsters stepped up too, but there are some players, like Fred and Jesse Lingard, who I remain worried about. Pre-season will count for nothing if we begin the Premier League with a loss.
Who is your player to watch this season?
Sam: Mason Greenwood is an obvious one to suggest, but this may finally be the season Andreas Pereira gets a chance to shine.
He’s been around the club for a while but we look light in central midfield and he can play as a deeper playmaker as well as more advanced. Solskjaer seems to like him and he should get games this season.
Vince: I expect Greenwood to have a breakthrough campaign but I am really excited to watch Wan-Bissaka boss the right side.
Dan: I have been really encouraged by Axel Tuanzebe’s performances in pre-season, he looks like he belongs.
Maguire’s arrival will limit his game time, but I believe this will be the season where he steps up as a clear cut third choice.
Prediction v Chelsea?
Sam: 2-1 to United. We should be chomping at the bit to show that this season will be a better one and full of energy to make a statement against a Chelsea side still finding their feet without Eden Hazard.
Vince: 2-0 victory
Dan: United to keep a clean sheet and send the fans home happy with a 3-0 win which will have everybody talking. I really hope that optimism does not come back to haunt me.
Final league position finish prediction?
Sam: It could be anything from top four if Solskjaer’s style clicks to being caught up by the hungry mid-table pack of Everton, Wolves, Leicester and West Ham, if he’s unable to inspire improvement on the woeful run we had last season after beating PSG.
We didn’t play well once after that win. But pre-season is a time for optimism so I’ll say fourth.
Vince: I think we’ll surprise a few people this season but, given Tottenham’s late business, the best we can hope for is fourth.
Dan: I agree that those writing United off will eat their words, but we’ll have a few wobbles. I fully understand the side of the argument and could see another sixth place finish, or worse, but I’m choosing to be positive.
I think Liverpool will crash back down to earth this year and join the chasing pack, and we could finish as high as third. I’d take fourth if you offered it right now.
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