London: Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will look to start their new season afresh as they kick-off their Premier League campaign against West Ham United on Sunday. The Special One ended his first season as Red Devils manager after finishing a lowly sixth in Premier League.
But on a positive note, United clinched the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season, the latter of which ensured their entry to the UEFA Champions League, courtesy a 2-0 win over Ajax of Netherlands.
The 13-time Premier League champions are coming into this match on the back of a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, where Romelu Lukaku netted late in the match.
With the Champions League kicking-off in a month, Jose Mourinho will hope to get the team tactics right, with the arrival of newcomers Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic.
What looks good:
Champions League football returns back to Old Trafford and with latest signings such as Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic, Mourinho will be keen on proving a point.
Pre-season performances have also displayed that the club is ready to hit the ground running.
What does not:
Club record signing Paul Pogba has failed to live up to the hype last season. The former Juventus man had a slow start to the 2016-17 season, after scoring just 5 goals in as many as 30 matches for the club.
The frontline proved to be wasteful in front of goal despite a plethora of chances last season that resulted in many draws.
Also, United need to avoid slumping out of form in the later stages of the Premier League, something that happened last season, finishing in sixth place.
Injuries to the likes of Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw will also give Mourinho headaches temporarily.
Jose Mourinho has welcomed the trio of Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic to the side, filling the void left by Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Paris Saint-Germain full-back Serge Aurier has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney’s departure to home-club Everton will be a major miss for the former Premier League champions. However, the Red Devils will have to move forward and will have to depend on the likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Mkhitaryan and others to fetch them points.
Right back Timothy Fosu-Mensah has joined Crystal Palace on a season-long loan.
Manchester United could go ahead with the 4-3-3 formation this season. United started the previous season with a 4-3-2-1 lineup but switched to the current 4-3-3 in the latter stages of the season.
The arrival of Matic could provide Paul Pogba full freedom to operate in a favoured no.10 role. Mourinho would also prefer his full-backs to deliver more crosses into the box, given Lukaku's aerial threat.
Players to watch out for:
It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Romelu Lukaku will have an impact on Manchester United. Lukaku, who scored 25 goals in 37 matches last season, will hope to take the Reds forward as they hope to clinch their first Premier League title since 2012-13, which was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last.
Nemanja Matic will be yet another star who could make an impact at Old Trafford, an upgrade to the veteran Michael Carrick.
It is going to be a tough but challenging season for United, as they kick off the season against a rejuvenated West Ham United side. With the UEFA Champions League starting in a month, Jose Mourinho’s side will hope to avoid yet another group stage exit and will aim for Premier League glory after a spending spree in the transfer window.