It only feels like yesterday that the top leagues of European Soccer were playing their final games of the regular season. Fans were praying for a miracle so their favorite teams can stay up, while others were already rejoicing at the season ending. The English Premier League starts in twelve days, and we have twenty teams vying for that final day celebration so they can lift the trophy, and immortalize themselves in history. Along with the seventeen teams that stayed up from the 2016-17 season, we have some newcomers in Brighton, Newcastle United and Huddersfield. Over the next twelve days, we will preview every Premier League team this season, starting off with the most famous team in the league: Manchester United.
It was a tale of two stories last year for Manchester United. They were shaky during their EPL games, but once it came to knockout competitions or the Europa League, they were hotter than the Sahara desert. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a shining light until his knee injury forced his season to end early, as was David De Gea between the sticks. Jose Mourinho came in to breathe new life into a boring style of play by United, but it couldn’t save them from a disappointing EPL season by United standards. While Ibrahimovic shined in the Manchester light, Paul Pogba took six months to find his groove in the red. He was able to put some poor performances (eight touches, anyone?) in the past to help United to the Cup treble, but he will look forward to proving his worth this year.
While it may look like Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward haven’t been too busy on the transfer front this summer, they’ve made some progress towards building for what could be a dominant next few years. Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof have both come in from Everton and Benfica respectively, with Lukaku showing his prowess in the summer matches. United legend Wayne Rooney went back to his old stomping ground in Everton, while Adnan Januzaj and Josh Harrop have gone elsewhere to get some first team action. The addition of Lukaku is essentially a straight replacement for Ibrahimovic, while Lindelof will be solid at the back with a potential move for Nemanja Matic also on the books over the next few days.
The first five weeks for the Red Devils should set up United for a deep run. Everton and West Ham at home are tough games for Jose Mourinho’s men, with Liverpool (away) as their first massive challenge, followed by Huddersfield, and two cracking matches with Tottenham and Chelsea in the works. Early December will bring another huge challenge, with Arsenal and the Manchester derby, followed by an easier run over the Christmas period. After Christmas, it’s a better run for United with the return games against Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham spread out by easier games in the middle. However, in the Premier League, easy games don’t exist.
Manchester United is going to be busy this year. Pogba should fire up the second half of the season under Mourinho, while the team should improve upon last years results. Will they win the Premier League this year? Probably not, but expect them to around fouth by Christmas, and rise up to be second by the end of the season.
Predicted finish: 2nd
Top Scorer: Romelu Lukaku
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