It has been another challenging season for Manchester United. It has become clear that change is needed to rebuild this team if it can even hope to take the challenge to city rivals Manchester City, who have had another fantastic season.
An unstable season that led to change late on in the season
Results throughout the season have been very inconsistent. Rumours of unrest between the manager and the players led to Manchester United terminating Jose Mourinho’s contract and bring in United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager. Solskjaer was tasked with making a final push towards the end of the season to gain a top four finish and Champions League qualification.
A fairytale start for Ole at United
What followed seemed to be a fairytale start to life at Manchester United for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a run of 13 games unbeaten in the League and also a miraculous win against Paris Saint-Germain in the champions league. This change in form seemed to rejuvenate the stars of the team with Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba finding the form that we know they are capable of. The whole team seeming to enjoy football again and looking forward to the challenge of reaching a top four finish in the season which looked almost impossible when Ole took charge.
How things have changed
Since his appointment as full time manager in March, Manchester United have only won two of their last seven Premier League games and were comprehensively beaten by Barcelona over two legs in the Champions league. This resulted in missing out on a top four finish following their disappointing draw with relegated Huddersfield. The rumours have returned of unrest in the dressing room with below par performances from the star players such as Paul Pogba and even the always reliable goalkeeper David De Gea also making mistakes.
A defining summer ahead to rebuild
It has been a long time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and Manchester United have been struggling since he left to find the form that bought so many Premier League Championships to Old Trafford. This has coincided with the rise of their Manchester rivals who have become a formidable force under Pep Guardiola and play with such a great attacking style of football.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer demanding that he only wants players to be at the club who want to give their all, changes are looking likely over the summer. Alexis Sanchez is one of those possible changes after his high profile move from Arsenal in January 2018 he has struggled to find his form and make the starting line up. He is also one of the highest paid players in the team. As always there is also speculation surrounding the future of star signing Paul Pogba who seemed to have a strained relationship with former manager Jose Mourinho. Reports of his desire to join Real Madrid in the summer have been widely reported. Given his up and down form this year, whether this actually going to happen is like betting on red or black at casino uk.
There is also uncertainty surrounding players that have yet to sign contract extensions including Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and David De Gea.
The standard Manchester City are setting
Manchester City have been the level all teams are aiming for especially since the arrival of Pep Guardiola in 2016. During his first season he experienced how difficult the English Premiership after a great start to the season they only managed to come third in the table and he was left without a trophy the first time in his career. Pep then showed why he is regarded as the greatest manager in the world by going away and identifying their weak areas, and coming back stronger. During the summer transfer window Manchester City signed Ederson Moraes, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva and Danilo.
The following 2017-18 season really showed the style of a Pep Guardiola team and Manchester City sweeped all teams aside and managed to reach the magical 100 points in a season. They beat their nearest rivals by an astonishing 19 points, which happened to be Manchester United.
This season has seen Manchester City still play some incredible football and has seen Liverpool reach the same level of football – with both teams taking the race to the race for the Premiership tile down to the last game of the season. City are just one point ahead of Liverpool.
To emphasis the gap that Manchester United need to close, the are currently sixth in the league and 29 points behind Manchester City heading into the final game of the season, which shows that there is plenty of work to be done at Old Trafford to compete at the top again.
Stranger things have happened
As big as the challenge seems for Manchester United to rebuild and challenge Manchester City for the Premier league in the 2019-20 season, we mustn’t forget the United are one of the richest clubs in the world so they do still have the money to invest and attract new players. With the history they have of success over the years in the league and also Europe, football players would like to play for them.
The gulf to the top two teams is significant but stranger things have happened with the perfect example being Leicester City miraculously winning the Premier League in the 2015-16 season. This is now regarded as one of the greatest underdog sporting achievements in History as they started the season in the betting odds 5000-1 outsiders the achieve this success. This followed the 2014-15 season where Leicester spent most of the season fighting relegation. Ultimately Leicester started the new season with new manager Claudio Ranieri who bought the players together to defy odds and win their first Premier League title – and show that anything is possible in football.
Changes are likely to happen over the summer and whatever happens, it is certain to be an exciting season if the end of this season is anything to go by.