If you go back 10 years, there were no clubs more fearful than Manchester United. They were a frequent winner in Europe and domestic, and they were often considered the largest club in the world.
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United’s unparalleled dominance has led them to 13 Premier League titles in just 21 year between 1993 and 2013. This feat includes three consecutive back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2009. Many people attribute this to Alex Ferguson’s incredibly effective management style and unwavering work ethic. Ferguson expected loyalty and commitment from his players. He was able to help build the confidence of some of the best players of our time, Ronaldo being one of them.
It begs the question: Why are they currently in 6th place, despite not having won a title for 8 years? Ferguson is often credited with keeping it all together. However, Manchester United has seen a dramatic fall from grace.
The odds of winning this year’s Premier League title are 125/1. Let’s look at Manchester United’s current season to see why.
The 2022/2022 Season
Man United’s 2022/22 season could not have begun better and Red Devils fans had plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
It started with the signings Jadon Sancho (World Player of the Year) and Rafael Varane (World Player of The Year). They were only topped by the return to United of Cristiano Ronaldo, a legend in United football.
The manager’s patience had paid off, and this could be United’s year. But, Ole’s lackluster performances quickly became a weekly occurrence before the embarrassing results quickly confused Red’s fans.
After a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Leicester, United suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. The most difficult was the humiliating 2-0 defeat to Manchester City, who were a fierce rival.
The loss to the other team in a place they have dominated for many years was an indication that perhaps the guard had changed. David De Gea, United’s goalkeeper, is enjoying his best season since a long time. This is a testament to how badly United are playing.
The reign of club legend Ole was eventually ended and Ralf Rangnick took his place. Although there have been some improvements in performances and results, United is still very much the same team as it was back then.
How can Manchester United again rise to the top of English football?
Manchester United has been in desperate need of consistency since Sir Alex’s departure. United lacks a cohesive vision. This is a problem because the best teams are united by their manager, players and club.
This can be seen in the recent changes in managerial hiring. Van Haal was possession-based, which led to some of Old Trafford’s most boring football.
Mourinho preferred to be defensive-minded and prefer to counterattack. Ralf Rangnick, the current manager, prefers a fast-paced, intense style of play.
Each manager will have very different plans for the team if they don’t have a clear vision or a preferred style of play. Players are often only compatible with one manager, which can lead to short-term signings.
It is no surprise that Man United has a net spending of PS100 million over the past five years. This is more than City. The current manager has a six-month contract, which shows the absence of a long-term plan.
Manchester United should instead decide what style they prefer to play, and hire managers and players who are suited to that style. A competent replacement for Chief Executive Ed Woodward could help to solve some of these problems.
A New Midfielder
It seemed impossible to improve the squad after such a successful summer transfer window. Despite big-name acquisitions, the team seems worse off than they were last year.
McTominay, Fred and others have been a mainstay in United’s midfield despite being heavily criticised for their mistakes. Matic, 33, seems just as likely to make mistakes as he moves into the final stage of his career.
Man United must spend money to acquire a quality midfielder that brings energy, intensity, and quality to the team. Amadou Haidara’s technical skills and experience with United make him a perfect fit.
While having a team of superstars may look great on paper, humility breeds hardwork. Every player in the field must work hard and track back.
United as a collective don’t work hard enough to defend the ball. They aren’t able to close down or track back. They must increase their willingness to run and work harder to defend better.
Manchester United’s defensive record wouldn’t have been as good if De Gea hadn’t been in such great form.
Manchester United Needs Improvement
The possibility of United failing to succeed was unimaginable at the height of Sir Alex Ferguson’s success. Manchester United must regain the unity and direction that Sir Alex taught to repair today’s disjointed performances.
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They must train their talented team to be as productive as possible. The final piece missing from the puzzle is a new midfield signing.