Manchester United underwhelmed under Jose Mourinho last season, despite enjoying the club’s best domestic season since the Alex Ferguson era. Finishing second behind bitter cross-town rivals – and runaway winners Manchester City – there was disappointment from the Old Trafford fans with the way the manager set up the team and the manner of their play. This was compounded by the club going trophy-less in 2018.
This year could be a defining one for Mourinho. He has led United to Europa League and League Cup wins and oversaw the team’s return to the Champions League after a single season absence. But the jury is still out on the decorated manager who sets his goals so high; previous clubs, including Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea, all enjoyed league and/or Champions League glory.
So far, despite making obvious improvements with players like Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku making a big impact, United have still looked short of the glory days of the Fergie era. And it’ll hurt the club’s huge fanbase that its bitter rival Manchester City won the league at a canter last year.
Lacklustre performances from United in 2017-2018 might also be to blame for the club coming up short in the latest Premier League betting odds. City are expected to run away with the title once again at 8/13 but it’s Liverpool, with the addition of new goalkeeper Alisson, who are second favourites, as Mourinho’s men find themselves in third at 13/2. But for a team that’s seeking to improve on a second-place finish last time out, 13/2 seems worthy of a bet.
The Red Devils will seek reinforcements in an attempt to match City’s winning formula. Owners, the Glazer family, will have to sign a few cheques to bring in the sorts of players that’ll make a positive difference to the team. The financial risk won’t be as big a gamble for online casino players making use of eCheque bonuses such as a $500 welcome deposit and 120 free spins on PartyCasino (and claimed here), with many of these sites offering sportsbooks too. So, while United aren’t out-and-out favourites for second place, many will see them as a risk-free bet.
The club has already made a big transfer splash with the signing of Brazilian midfielder Fredfor £52 million. He’s a player that’ll complement the club’s already star-studded forward line with a box-to-box mentality whose hard-working attitude is matched by an ability to get the team up the pitch. Mourinho has also added competition for the right-back spot with the addition of talented teenager Diogo Dalot.
It remains to be seen if United will add to their attacking talent but with Marouane Fellaini signing a new deal, the club has competition for places that’ll surely drive performance. In all likelihood, Mourinho’s ideal starting line-up will include a midfield trio of Matic, Pogba and Fred which means the likes of Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard will all have to wait their turn.
That means Mourinho’s potential acquisitions will probably seek to add to his options on the wing (Gareth Bale and Ivan Perisic have been mentioned) and perhaps another reinforcement in defence. Victor Lindelof disappointed last year with talk of Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld coming in.
But for United to really challenge, it isn’t necessarily about bringing in new players. The current squad has an abundance of talent – with young forwards like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial potential superstars, the newly acquired Alexis Sanchez now six months into life at Old Trafford, and the endless talent of Paul Pogba – that it’s more about Mourinho finding the right formula to get the best out of them.