Four things that could happen to Manchester United during the 2022/23 season

Manchester United have had a busy summer window so far, bringing in the likes of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, whilst continuing to chase the services of both Antony and Frenkie de Jong. The board are working tirelessly on signing the players that Erik Ten Hag wants.

Making predictions for the Red Devils’ 2022/23 season based off the previous campaign will not be easy to do so, especially with the managerial change and the ongoing incomings and departures that are taking place at Old Trafford. However, one thing that can easily be anticipated is, the football club will be taking a few steps into the right direction by the end of the season under Ten Hag.

The expectations are not too high going into the new season, as many are not assuming the side will make an instant challenge for the league, though, the English media and the United supporters will be pushing for them to achieve success in the domestic cup competitions or in the Europa League.

With no further ado, we try to predict what we might think will happen for United in 2022/23…

Injury issues would not be a surprise

It is no secret that the Red Devils will be entering the new season with a weaker squad than the last campaign, when you note the five players that have left as a free agent, Dean Henderson and Alvaro Fernandez have gone out on a loan basis and Lee Grant has retired from football. On top of that, Andreas Pereira has permanently left the club for Fulham, resulting in a total departure of nine players, whilst only three signings have been made with one month left of the transfer window.

With the side yet to fully take into the tactical principles of Ten Hag, there will be double training sessions that will consist of intense drills and methods. This will take place alongside the busy schedule the team will have of taking part in the Europa League competition on Thursday evenings, so it should not be a surprise to see injury issues affecting the side for majority of the season.

Martial, Rashford and Sancho to all score 15+ league goals

Bruno Fernandes (10) and Cristiano Ronaldo (18) were the only two players to reach double figures in goals for United in the league last season. The former went through a few rough patches without scoring whilst the latter scored a third of his goals through dead ball phases. Nevertheless, in the new campaign, the side should be creating clear and bigger chances for the attackers, through runs and movements in the final third, a key factor within the style of play that Ten Hag will implement.

On that basis, the front three in Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho should without a doubt be reaching 15 league goals and more each. Should Ronaldo leave the club before the transfer window comes to an end, this prediction will more than likely take place, as the Portuguese international’s presence in the team will impact how the side will press and how they will attack.

Martial has been impressive and clinical so far in pre-season, the type of positive news that the Old Trafford faithful will be wanting with the rumours of Ronaldo’s potential departure continuing to surface around. Rashford and Sancho have also shown their ability to be an influence on the flanks and into the penalty area, as they will have to importantly chip in with goals on a regular basis.

United will concede 40 to 45 league goals

The Red Devils conceded a huge amount of 57 league goals in the previous campaign, which is not good enough for a team to finish in the top four positions, let alone compete for the Premier League title. Majority of these goals were caused due to individual mistakes and a missing presence of a natural defensive midfielder, leading to the side to finish sixth in the league and ending the season on a goal difference of zero.  There was simply no defensive structure for the players to follow.

For sure, the team will make an improvement on this area within Ten Hag’s first season at the club, though, it will not be a massive development as many will expect. United will be controlling and playing around with the ball high up the pitch, and with Harry Maguire’s lack of recovery pace alongside David de Gea’s inability to confidently play as a sweeper keeper, the opposition will always have an opportunity to score on the counterattack, if their forward is intelligent and full of pace.

Europa League success

There is no doubt that Manchester United are the strongest team in the Europa League, even before the group stage draws have been completed. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen to rely on for individual brilliance, through their creativity and end product, along with the young guns in Anthony Elanga, Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal getting the chance to prove what they are capable of, the side should surely be able to advance quite far into the European competition.

Even though the draws are yet to take place, Ten Hag’s team should not have any major issues with defeating their opposition, especially with the technical ability and the confidence the team have shown from defence to attack during the pre-season fixtures. Once the side reach into the Quarter-Finals stage, it should not be a huge surprise to see key players such as Martial, Sancho and Raphael Varane being utilised, to ensure the chances of ending the season with silverware is highly likely.

Author: Tamara Kim