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Manchester United Season Preview for 2019/20 With Odds and Predictions
A lot of people expected problems for Manchester United last season, as the signs were there in the summer. The pessimists were right after all, and the Red Devils had a turbulent campaign.
The big question is what happens next for the club, and can it bounce back for the 2019-2020 campaign?
I will try to examine the problems of Man Utd during last season and share my predictions for the upcoming one.
Naturally, I will also explore the betting odds of the leading online betting sites and see if there are some exciting wagers out there.
Manchester United 2018-19 Season Review
The summer of 2018 was alarming for every fan of Manchester United. It was obvious that Jose Mourinho wanted more signings, but the board was reluctant to give the manager more money.
It’s hard to blame them after the Portuguese spent hundreds of millions in the past couple of transfer windows without improving the team significantly. On the other hand, keeping a manager without backing him in the summer made little sense.
The results of such an approach were clear to see at the start of the season. Manchester United’s defense was abysmal, the manager was unhappy, and the club was a mess.
I’m not sure if we should blame the board, the players, or Mourinho, who’s famous for never lasting more than three seasons on the biggest stage. I believe all sides contributed to an extent.
The Red Devils quickly lost plenty of points in the English Premier League, and it was obvious they were not going to fight for the title. The fourth place was the only realistic target.
The team did progress from the group stage of the UEFA Champions League but wasn’t convincing in Europe either.
Honestly, the whole situation surrounding Manchester United got ugly fast. Mourinho started blaming everyone else but himself, the players were obviously unhappy, and the supporters wanted to see the manager sacked.
I can’t say I was surprised when the board listened and got rid of the Portuguese in the middle of December.
A lot of former players, such as Gary Neville, were unhappy, but I think that was the right decision. We’ve seen what happens when Jose loses the plot. In my opinion, accepting that this season will bring nothing and moving on was the correct long-term choice.
The club decided to appoint former legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and his impact was instant. He gave the players some freedom, and they repaid him by winning a bunch of games in a row. The Norwegian had a record-breaking start as a United manager.
The cherry on top was the elimination of PSG in the Champions League. The results were too good for the board to ignore, so Solskjaer received the job permanently.
This is where things got bad again, as Man Utd returned to the form of the start of the season. The team missed multiple chances to win a top 4 place and was knocked out from the UCL and the FA Cup.
The end of the campaign was pretty depressing, and Solskjaer will have to do a lot of work in the summer if he wants to compete for major trophies next year.
What Manchester United Needs This Summer
There are so many issues with the squad right now that it’s hard to identify only one or two key targets.
For a start, Manchester United and Solskjaer need to decide the future of some of the biggest earners. Alexis Sanchez has been a shadow of his Arsenal self since arriving.
The injuries didn’t help, but the Chilean is earning a little fortune every week without contributing significantly on the pitch. The manager has to find a way to get him going or get rid of him.
Another urgent matter is the future of Paul Pogba. The Frenchman was inconsistent in the last campaign. The start under Mourinho was an embarrassment, followed by a strong run under Solskjaer.
However, Pogba returned to mediocrity towards the end of the season, and there are rumors about Real Madrid and Juventus. If his head is not in Manchester, the club should certainly sell him and reinvest the money. Unlike Sanchez, Pogba can be moved instantly.
While I’m on the topic, I must mention that the French midfielder is the top scorer of the club for the previous campaign with 16 goals.
That fact suggests that something’s very wrong with the current group of attacking players. There is an argument that they struggled under Mourinho, as his conservative style and inability to develop talent hurt the likes of Rashford, Martial, Lingard, and Lukaku.
On the other hand, they are all making tons of money every week, so they must take some of the blame. I expect Solskjaer to rely on pretty much the same group of players and put his trust in them. Rashford and Martial have shown a lot in the second part of the season, and we all know they have the potential to be world-class players.
That can’t be said about the defense, though. Manchester United struggled at the back, even in the better periods of the 2018-2019 campaign. The club conceded 54 times in the EPL, which must be some kind of a negative record.
There are too many players that underperformed, so I expect the Red Devils to splash the cash in this zone. They need at least one quality center-back and new full-backs if they want to build a competent defensive line.
With the proper protection, I expect to see David de Gea back to his best. The Spaniard had a nightmare season too, but it’s hard to blame him. He has proven to be good enough in the past couple of campaigns, so there’s no reason to doubt him in the long run.
Finally, there’s the middle of the park. I feel that Manchester United could benefit from another player like Ander Herrera. The Spaniard is leaving as a free agent this summer after he was offered a contract with a salary cut. I’m not sure why this happened, but I’m not surprised to see Herrera gone under the circumstances.
I expect Paul Pogba to stay, though, so finding another box-to-box player that could support him will be the main target for this area of the pitch.
Now that I’m reaching the end of this section, I realize how chaotic it must look. I apologize for that, but that’s how things stand at Man Utd right now. The club has a bunch of problems, and building a competitive squad over the summer will be close to impossible.
Manchester United Betting Odds for 2019-2020
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Manchester United betting odds for next season.
You can get 17.00 for Manchester United to claim the English Premier League title at 888sport. I don’t think that the Red Devils are a realistic contender, so I will take a look at the top 4 option instead. The same bookmaker offers 1.80, and I don’t like that either.
Liverpool and Manchester City are not in United’s sight. Both clubs have a stronger squad, confidence, and a clear plan to follow. It’s close to impossible for the Red Devils to catch them next season; it would probably take a couple of years of hard work.
Another team that looks far off is Tottenham. If the Spurs don’t lose Pochettino, they should be comfortably better than Manchester United. The young core of the team will bring a lot of points.
That leaves three teams fighting for one Champions League place: Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. I would say that the Blues are in the worst position from this group.
Eden Hazard is almost certainly going to Real Madrid, no one knows what will happen with Sarri, and there is a transfer ban that could prevent the club from acquiring new players. It’s a tough spot for Chelsea, so that’s good news for Man Utd.
The other contender, Arsenal, is in a somewhat better place, but not by much. The budget of the Gunners will be hampered by the lack of Champions League soccer, and their defense is abysmal. On top of that, Unai Emery might be facing a fight to keep his attacking duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang.
I would say that Arsenal is in a slightly better position than Manchester United at this moment, but the Red Devils will invest more throughout the summer. That should close the gap, but the price of 1.80 still seems too short, so I would advise you to pass.
Ever since the UEFA Europa League began bringing a place in the Champions League to the winner, the tournament has become way more competitive. Clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal see it as not only a trophy but an alternative route to the more lucrative UEFA competition.
Man Utd has the quality to comfortably reach the deeper stages of the Europa League. If the team is not doing that well in the EPL, this would be a great opportunity to qualify for the CL.
I think the price of 5.50 is fair, though, as the likes of Arsenal, Roma, Sevilla, Milan, and Lazio will have their own ambitions.
Other Domestic Competitions
Manchester United has solid traditions in the FA Cup and the League Cup, so they might be an option. You could find odds in the region of 11.00 for any of them. Backing a team to claim a knockout competition before the start of the season is a big gamble, but the price seems right.
If you insist on betting on Manchester United for the 2019-2020 season, I think that going after one of the two domestic cups would be the best approach.
No one expected to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remain in Manchester United beyond the summer, but the Norwegian earned his shot. The hard work is just starting, though.
The manager will have to make a couple of crucial decisions on his squad and find new additions that could solve the problems from last season. That’s the key to the future of the club and his own.
What do you expect to happen with Manchester United? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.