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Season preview: Manchester United

Manchester United news

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.

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This is our Manchester United season preview, as you can click on the link above to find out exactly how you can watch every single Manchester United game live in the USA across our platforms at NBC Sports.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking new kits for 2020-21 PL season ]

Okay, time to focus on the Red Devils…

Manchester United

2019-20 finish: 3rd (18W-12D-8L, 66 points)
Head coach: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
2019-20 PL top scorer: Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford (Both had 17 PL goals)
Location: Manchester, North West England

ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Manchester United: How to become title challengers

This is all about taking the next step for Solskjaer and Manchester United. They finished third after an impressive finish to the 2019-20 season and the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, and return to fitness of Paul Pogba, gave them an X-factor in midfield. Arguably taking the next step to get on the level of Liverpool and Manchester City (who they finished 33 points and 15 points behind respectively) will be even harder than dragging their way back into the top four. Reaching the Champions League should be the bare minimum each season for Man United and now it is all about becoming genuine title contenders. If not this season, then definitely in 2021-22. The pressure is on Ole and his young side who are set up to get the best out of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to score goals galore.

Manchester United news: The current situation

Confidence will be high despite coming up short in the FA Cup and Europa League to not win a trophy at the business end of the season. They were unbeaten in their final 14 Premier League matches, eventually overtaking Leicester City to secure qualification to the 2020-21 Champions League. Don’t forget, at the end of January Man United were points outside the top four and 14 points behind third-place Leicester. What a comeback. Bruno Fernandes now makes this team tick after arriving in January for $88 million from Sporting Lisbon, as he was involved in 15 Premier League goals since his debut on Feb. 1 which was the most in the PL during that span. Three semifinal defeats will have hurt this Manchester United side and Solskjaer will hope to add more players in the final weeks of the summer transfer window to keep them on an upward trajectory.

Key Manchester United news, season objectives

  • Fitting Paul Pogba into the team: With Donny van de Beek arriving and Pogba yet to agree a new contract at Man United, it will be intriguing to see how this plays out. He developed a promising partnership, at times, with Bruno Fernandes during project restart but he also made a few big errors. Pogba wants to stay at United, according to his agent, but with Fernandes pulling the strings in central midfield, do United want Pogba to stay? His quality is undoubted but slotting him into midfield alongside Fernandes and a more defensive player just about strikes the right balance.
  • Henderson or De Gea to be number one? This is a tough one. David de Gea had plenty of high-profile errors last season but Solskjaer stuck by him. With Dean Henderson returning from his hugely successful loan spell at Sheffield United, the Man United academy product is keen to push De Gea all the way for the starting spot. He has a chance to become the starter and if DDG makes some big errors early in the season, Henderson is waiting in the wings. Will that extra competition help to improve De Gea’s form? Solskjaer will be hoping so.
  • Champions League return must be balanced: Man United are back in the Champions League after one season away but they have to get the balance correct between the PL and Europe. Don’t forget, they only just made it to the Champions League even though they finished third in the table and there will be an almighty scrap between themselves, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester and Wolves for those two remaining UCL spots if Liverpool and Man City are ahead in the top two again. Man United need to enjoy the Champions League but they will also need to keep their focus on qualifying for it once again.

Transfers in

ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Manchester United in 2020-21

This is probably a season too early for a title bid but top four should be relatively straightforward if their star players stay injury free. Solskjaer’s team have to improve defensively and David de Gea, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw will be key to that. Those three made big errors and struggled with fitness last season. If a new center back or left back arrives, that should improve things, as Solskjaer knows he has so many goals in attack. If United can keep improving at the back, they will be much closer to Liverpool and Man City this season. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

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