Manchester United 2022-23 season preview – prediction, summer signings, star players

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Sports Mole takes an in-depth look ahead to Manchester United’s 2022-23 campaign, including predictions, summer signings and their star players.

Manchester United will be looking to move on from a disastrous 2021-22 season in the coming campaign, with Erik ten Haag now the man trying to help the club in its bid to return to former glories.

Ten Hag has overseen a successful pre-season, and there have been plenty of glowing reports from the players, but there is huge pressure on the Dutchman to deliver in 2022-23.

The Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga has been an unwanted distraction ahead of the new campaign, but the fact that there is huge room for improvement should work in favor of the new manager, who enjoyed great success at Ajax before arriving at Old Trafford.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag pictured on July 30, 2022© Reuters

There will be no Champions League football for the club this season following their sixth-place finish last term, with the Red Devils instead preparing to take part in the Europa League.

Man United cannot afford another campaign out of Europe’s leading competition, though, so a top-four finish will be Ten Hag’s main goal for the coming season.

For the moment, the Red Devils are not a team capable of matching the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool over a whole season, but the fans will be hoping that their side is a lot closer to the top this term.

Here, Sports Mole looks ahead to the upcoming campaign for the English giants.


FIXTURES

Man United will begin their 2022-23 Premier League campaign at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on August 7 before traveling to Brentford in their second match of the season one week later.

The Red Devils then have the small matter of a clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford on August 22, while the first Manchester derby of the season will be at the Etihad Stadium at the beginning of October.

A difficult October sees Man United also take on Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and West Ham United, while they will face Fulham and Nottingham Forest either side of the break for the 2022 World Cup.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring on July 12, 2022© Reuters

The second Manchester derby of the season will see Manchester City visit Old Trafford on January 14, while the Red Devils will head to Anfield to take on Liverpool at the start of March.

Man United have five matches in the calendar for May, opening the final month of the season with a trip to West Ham before welcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford.

Ten Hag’s side will then take on promoted outfits Bournemouth and Fulham in their final two matches – two sides that could potentially be battling to stay in the Premier League.

> Click here to see all of Man United’s 2022-23 fixtures


SUMMER SIGNINGS

Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez in action for Argentina in February 2022© Reuters

In
Tyrell Malacia (£13.5m, Feyenoord)
Christian Eriksen (free, Brentford)
Lisandro Martinez (£51.6m, Ajax)

Out
Edinson Cavani (released)
Paul Pogba (free, Juventus)
Jesse Lingard (free, Nottingham Forest)
Nemanja Matic (free, Rome)
Juan Mata (released)
Lee Grant (retired)
D’Mani Mellor (free, Wycombe Wanderers)
Reece Devine (released)
Dean Henderson (loan, Nottingham Forest)
Dylan Levitt (undisclosed, Dundee United)
Andreas Pereira (£8.5m, Fulham)
Alvaro Fernandez (loan, Preston North End)

Manchester United total spent to date: £65.1m
Manchester United total received to date: £8.5m

Manchester United net transfer balance: -£56.6m


SQUAD

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Tom Heaton

Defenders: Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry MaguireLisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi

Midfielders: Bruno FernandesChristian Eriksen, Amad Diallo, Fred, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, James Garner, Scott McTominay, Hannibal Maybri, Shoretire School

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Tahiti Chong, Alejandro Garnacho


STRONGEST XI

POSS UTD XI 22/23

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STAR PLAYER – Jadon Sancho

Manchester United's Jadon Sancho celebrates scoring against Liverpool on July 12, 2022© Reuters

Sancho arrived at Man United last summer off the back of scoring 50 goals and registering 64 assists in 136 appearances for Borussia Dortmund.

By his own high standards, the 2021-22 campaign proved to be a disappointment for the England international, who only managed five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions.

Sancho has been in brilliant form during pre-season, though, scoring against Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, while he also set up his side’s second against Steven Gerrard’s side in Perth.

The former Man City youngster was brilliant off the right of a front three in pre-season, and he certainly has the capabilities of being a star player for the Red Devils next season.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding Ronaldo’s future, Man United need their forwards to hit the ground running at the start of the campaign, and Sancho will surely be fired up for the opener with Brighton.

It would have been easy to choose Ronaldo in this category, but the Portugal international is not guaranteed to be at the club for the 2022-23 campaign, so Sancho is given the nod.


MANAGER – Erik ten Haag

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag on July 15, 2022© Reuters

Ten Hag was confirmed as Man United’s new head coach towards the end of April, with the Dutchman moving to Old Trafford after a successful period in charge of Ajax.

The 52-year-old led Ajax to three Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups during his time at the helm, boasting a 73.5% win rate from 215 matches in charge of the Amsterdam giants.

The Dutch outfit enjoyed a lot of success and also played an exciting brand of football under Ten Hag, who has also coached Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich II and Utrecht since 2012.

Man United had been strongly linked with Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane but ultimately decided that Ten Hag was the best fit for the role, and the early signs have been positive.

The players appear to be buying into his methods, with the pre-season results largely impressive, and it will be fascinating to see how the Dutchman performs during his time at Old Trafford.


LAST SEASON – Sixth

Disastrous would be a suitable word to describe Man United’s 2021-22 Premier League season; there was talk of the title when Ronaldo returned to the club, with an exciting transfer window also seeing the club sign Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked as head coach in November following a poor run of form, and while Michael Carrick steadied the ship during his short spell in charge, the decision to appoint Ralf Rangnick even the interim manager for the rest of the season was not a successful one.

Man United finished down in sixth spot in the table, boasting a record of 16 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats, which saw them collect 58 points.

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes looks dejected after Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez scores their third goal on March 6, 2022© Reuters

The 20-time English champions were 11 points behind fifth-place Arsenal and 13 behind fourth-place Tottenham, which is an indication of the size of the gap that they need to make up in the new season.

There were an incredible 35 points between the champions Man City and Man United in sixth, and they were even fortunate to finish in the Europa League spots, having lost to Brighton and Crystal Palace in their last two games of the campaign.

The club also failed to make an impression in the cup competitions, exiting the FA Cup in the fourth round and EFL Cup in the third round, but they did, somewhat surprisingly considering their struggles, make the knockout round of the Champions League, losing to Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.


PREDICTION

Man United need to return to the top four in the upcoming campaign, but it will be a hugely difficult task considering the strength of the teams that they will be battling.

Man City and Liverpool could again go head-to-head for the title, leaving the Red Devils to fight with the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal for the Champions League positions.

We are expecting a huge improvement from the 20-time English champions this season and believe that they will be firmly involved in a top-four race for much of the campaign.

Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Rayo Vallecano on July 31, 2022© Reuters

However, as it stands, Man United could fall just short of the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham.

The picture could change before the end of the transfer window if the Red Devils manage to sign the leading target Frenkie de Jong and add another attacker, but it is fifth for the moment based on the current squad, with potentially only a point or two in it when it comes to the positions behind Man City and Liverpool.

VERDICT: Fifth

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