Premier League 2022-23 preview No 14: Manchester United | Soccer

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Guardian writers’ predicted position 6th (NB: this is not necessarily Jamie Jackson’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 6th

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker) 25-1

Guidebook

In days of yore – well, the start of last season when Manchester United had finished second the previous term and were bolstered by the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo – billing a fourth-place finish as acceptable would have been, erm , unacceptable. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjær winning a 21st crown was the ambition. Now, after the poorest of campaigns which ended with the team in sixth, 35 points behind Manchester City and a third manager in less than a year in place of Erik ten Hag, should the Dutchman’s team place fourth this would be a minor miracle.

Why it might happen: the 52-year-old has signed Tyrell Malacia, a 22-year-old dynamic left-back, Christian Eriksen on a free (the silky playmaker is possibly the best value of the window) as well as Lisandro Martínez , a feisty defender, from Ajax. If – a big one – Frenkie de Jong follows from Barcelona Ten Hag will have a complete quartet of his targets: fair reason for optimism.

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Ready for the Premier League 2022-2023: Manchester United – video

Why it might not: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal (who all finished above United) have strengthened their ranks. Also, Ten Hag has three Eredivisie titles and a Champions League semi-final with Ajax on the CV but is unknown in the Premier League.

He is also hampered by the season’s early start due to the winter World Cup, meaning less time – five weeks – to implement his fast-pressing, constant pass-and-move style. To hear Ten Hag instruct a group during training at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium earlier this month that football “is triangles, always the same principles” was a touch alarming: elite footballers should already be versed in this fundamental.