If I’m realistic, I’m not sure what to expect from us this season.
I was expecting a complete re-haul from Ole, with him weeding out the garden and replacing them with nice, fresh and exciting flowers/plants (okay, not my best analogy but you get the point), but it hasn’t happened yet to the degree I believed it would.
I wanted so many to leave and to see at least 5 new faces gracing the pitch in our Theatre of Dreams.
We’ve brought in Daniel James (exciting young prospect) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (fantastic signing in a position that was needed) so far which, feels a little underwhelming considering the wealth of problems we have currently.
Granted, Harry Maguire, and it looks like Paulo Dybala, could still come in, which would make it a far more acceptable summer transfer window, but time is ticking and even with these signings, I’m not entirely sure we can rely on Marcus Rashford as our 20+ goal striker.
So currently, I’m a little concerned. We need to land Maguire, and really Dybala too, in order for us to compete and attain Champions League next year, is my gut feeling.
I expect us to be fluid in attack like last year, but vulnerable defensively again, unless we do manage to land Maguire who should help sure things up defensively.
For me, another tough battle for 4th place looks likely currently, but if we can push Maguire and Dybala over the line soon, then we’re looking much, much better.
Expected Line-ups and Formations
Currently, this is what I predict our GW1 team will look like assuming Harry Maguire has signed.
Out of possession and defending
When we’re out of possession and defending, I expect Martial/James/Lingard to all come back to create a 451 to help McTominay and Pogba, sitting nice and deep to deprive the opposition space in-between the lines.
In possession and attacking
Based on pre-season, I expect it to look as follows when in possession and attacking the opposition.
Shaw and Wan-Bissaka will play as inverted full backs rather than overlapping full backs and will tuck in either side of McTominay to help give support to the attacks.
The creativity in attack will be left up to the front 5, and in particular, Paul Pogba, who will join in on the attack and look to create chances for himself and the team in an advanced playmaker role – likely to be more free roaming versus opposition with weaker attacks and more disciplined against the teams with a strong attack.
Rashford will make his runs into the channels to leave space in behind for the likes of Martial and Lingard, who will bomb on into the box. Juan Mata should also see significant game time in CAM, feel Ole will rotate between these players based on opposition.
Given that Martial will act as an inside forward, I do expect Shaw to make some overlapping runs, but I suspect this will likely be in the games where Ole feels the opposition can’t hurt us in transition.
James will provide the width on the right as an attacking, direct and pacey winger. Also expect Greenwood to get game time from this position.
Corners: Young, Mata, Rashford, Shaw
Free-kicks: Rashford, Pogba, Mata, Young
Penalties: Pogba, Rashford, Mata, Martial
First 10 Fixtures
Chelsea (H), Wolves (A), Palace (H), Southampton (A), Leicester (H), West Ham (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A), Liverpool (H), Norwich (A)
United host 3 of the big boys in the first 10 fixtures however, all of them are at Old Trafford. Yes it’s not the fortress it once was, but they’ll fair much better in front of their own fans than away.
It’s not a particularly easy start, but it’s not the worst either. I wouldn’t be put off getting any attacking assets if you were considering them but I would steer clear of defensive assets until we see improvement, and perhaps once Maguire settles in with his new teammates should the English centre back complete the switch.
Analysing the FPL Prospects
Paul Pogba £8.5m – After a turbulent summer of speculation surrounding Pogba’s commitment and subsequent future, it seems as though the World Cup winner is set to stay at Old Trafford… at least for one more season.
He’s looked good in pre-season and has looked sharp. Coming off the back of his best season numbers wise, with 13 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League, under Ole, he could well have a similar or even better season this year, especially if his old pal from Juventus, Paulo Dybala, signs.
£8.5m is a good price for an asset who has the potential to hit between 180-200pts and under Ole, I can’t see any reason he can’t hit that mark or even go beyond it.
Daniel James £6.0m
Coming in at a very healthy £6.0m, Daniel James could be a fantastic value prospect for your teams.
He has started all but one pre-season game on the right hand side and looks set to get significant game time in the Premier League.
Ole hinted that the game versus AC Milan tomorrow could be more or less the same as our GW1 side, so I’d keep an eye on that for more information, but if James starts that, then he could be a real bargain.
“Daniel is an exciting young winger with lots of skills, vision, exceptional pace and a good work ethic. He had a great season with Swansea City and has all the attributes needed to become a Manchester United player.
We are delighted he has signed with our club and we are all looking forward to working with him. This is the perfect environment for Daniel to continue his development.” – Ole.
Marcus Rashford £8.5mEmbed from Getty Images
With Romelu Lukaku seemingly on his way out of United, Rashford seems poised to become the main number 9 for United.
From what I’ve seen so far of Rashford, he has so much potential and I really like his game, but his finishing still needs work, particularly when it comes to composure in front of goal.
Last year, when Ole signed, we saw a marked improvement with regard to this, but he went off the boil towards the end of the season.
For me, the price means we wait and see when it comes to him.
Both Harry Maguire £5.5m and Aaron Wan-Bissaka £5.5m could be great value, but given their start isn’t the best in terms of nice easy home fixtures, combined with our defensive frailties last season, I would steer clear of the defence for now and invest in the more reliable City/Liverpool defences (as hard as that is to say as a United fan).
A Potential Star
All United and FPL fans’ eyes are on this man, and where he sees his future.
The word is that he is open to the move and that his agent has been in Manchester discussing a deal for him that would see him take a huge increase in wages.
He has said he would prefer to stay in Juventus and fight for his place, but it is reported that Juventus want him off their books and have lined up Lukaku as a replacement for him and are thus, looking at a swap deal.
Should the Argentine move to Old Trafford, he could be the perfect man to slot into the CAM role in Ole’s 4231 system, linking up with former Juventus teammate Paul Pogba and helping to feed Rashford/Martial, as well as finishing off the chances himself.
He’s a special talent and the kind of player that could really take us a step up when it comes to the proficiency of our attacking play.
I can see him coming in at a respectable price in FPL, should he be signed, as he did struggle in Serie A last season, having only scored 5 times – something the boffins at Official FPL headquarters will likely look at.
However, the 25 year old has great pedigree and has 95 goal contributions in 163 games for Juventus as their CAM and would really suit Ole’s style of play and system, so if he does make the switch to the red side of Manchester (the actual colour of Manchester), he should really be a heavy consideration for your squads.
When it comes to United, and putting my bias aside and my logical cap on, I would probably avoid all assets to start with and just wait and see how things develop.
This was our first pre-season under Ole and it’s only now that he’ll have finally had time to implement the system he wants, with the players he wants to do it with.
We also could have Maguire signing soon and it seems a deal for Dybala is possible, so until we have more information, I would avoid our assets.
Our final pre-season game tomorrow against AC Milan will tell us more or less what the GW1 line-up will be, so keep an eye on that and the transfer news and make your final decisions based on that.