Manchester United Season Preview: Top 4 Will Be A Challenge As Things Stand

Manchester United will look to move on from the disastrous 2021/22 season in the upcoming campaign and take giant strides under new boss, Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag, 52, was appointed as the new permanent manager of the club towards the end of April, with the Dutchman signing off from Ajax by winning the Eredivisie title. He has overseen a successful pre-season, with results largely impressive but the 52-year-old will be under tremendous pressure to deliver from the start.

Having finished sixth last season, Ten Hag and Man United will be preparing to take part in the Europa League and perhaps going all the way.


Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United will begin their 2022/23 campaign at home to Brighton on August 7 before travelling to west London to face Brentford in the second game one week later.

The Red Devils will get a chance to exercise their last season’s demons with a home clash against arch-rivals Liverpool before ending the month with a trip to Southampton.

The first Manchester derby of the season will take place at the Etihad Stadium at the start of October. A challenging October will see Ten Hag’s Red Army face Newcastle United, Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham, while they play newly-promoted teams Fulham and Nottingham Forest on either side of the mini-break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

January 2023 will see them face Manchester City and Arsenal in successive weeks. The second Pennines derby of the campaign will see the Red Devils visit Elland Road in February, while they will travel to Anfield to face Liverpool at the start of March.

Man United will play four games in May, starting the final month of the season with an away game at West Ham. Ten Hag and co. will face Wolves and Bournemouth in their next two matches before closing the season against Fulham at Old Trafford on May 28.

Transfer Business—Ins and Outs

Having released more than half a dozen players—with Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata among some notable names at the end of last campaign—Man United were expected to be a lot busier in the summer transfer window than they have been.

In Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, Ten Hag has made some solid signings that very well fit the style of play he wants to implement at the club. The Dutch tactician’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong is an open secret, and even if he gets the Barcelona midfielder, United will remain light in midfield and at centre-forward, regardless of what happens with Cristiano Ronaldo, who wants out and quickly.

At No.9, the Red Devils are pursuing a deal for RB Salzburg’s young striker Benjamin Sesko, but if they don’t get him and Ronaldo gets his move away from Old Trafford, Ten Hag may well have to cross everything that Anthony Martial—prone to inconsistency and small injuries—can stay healthy and firing, for long periods.

Ins—Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.

Outs—Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani, Lee Grant, Jesse Lingard, Reece Devine, D’Mani Mellor, Dylan Levitt, Dean Henderson (loan), Andreas Pereira (loan) and Alvaro Fernandez (loan).

Key Player—Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho arrived at Man United last summer off the back of four successful years with Borussia Dortmund. However, the English winger couldn’t live up to the high expectations of the fans and critics alike in his debut campaign, supplying only five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions.

Sancho enjoyed a fantastic pre-season, though, demonstrating that he has the qualities to thrive in Ten Hag’s system and become a star performer for the Red Devils this season. The new project at Old Trafford could help the 22-year-old function as the focal point of the attack alongside Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.

Probable line-up against Brighton (4-2-3-1)

De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.


Manchester United cannot afford to stay out of Europe’s elite competition and will aim to secure a top-four berth, but it will be a difficult task going by the strength of the clubs around them.

If Ten Hag can get a deal for De Jong over the line, and manage to add Sesko and a wide forward to his squad, the Red Devils can harbour hopes of sneaking into the top four. However, as things stand, they may finish outside of the Champions League places for the second season running.

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