Manchester United fans know that quite literally every game is going to be a battle in the Premier League this season, and that’s not just because it’s an incredibly competitive division.
It’s also because the club is in a state of disarray between troublesome owners, a new manager who already doesn’t seem very happy and a squad that has very little cohesion.
It sounds dramatic, but this may be the worst state the club is in since the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson, largely because it’s pretty worrying how much money they’ve been spending in return for very few results.
Erik ten Hag is the latest man to walk through the door and while he may cut an impressive figure in terms of how he holds himself, we’re not so sure that carries over onto the pitch – at least, not yet.
The first two games of the campaign have been and gone and it’s safe to say they haven’t gone particularly well for the Red Devils. They opened up with a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove Albion before, last week, taking a trip to the capital for a clash with Brentford.
This is the definition of a fixture they should be winning but instead, they were well and truly humbled as they lost 4-0 to the Bees with all four goals coming in the first half. It truly does boggle the mind.
They can talk about diving back into the market before the summer transfer window closes all they want but in reality, the problem goes far deeper to the roots of MUFC.
“This is Manchester United Football Club we’re talking about here”, is a sentence that a comedian once joked is always said within the context of football punditry. As funny as it may be, it’s also true, with there constantly being this romantic idea surrounding United and what they should be looking to achieve.
Somehow their ego still hasn’t been brought back down to earth and it leads you to wonder: where are they going to end up this season?
They’re bottom of the table right now and look like they’ll probably stay there after this weekend given that they’re playing Liverpool. At the same time, we think that when September rolls around or perhaps even October, ten Hag will start to put the right pieces in place.
We don’t think he’s going to end up being sacked because, in reality, there’s nobody obvious that comes to mind as a replacement that would make things better.
It’s a sinking ship that needs rescuing and we do believe the Dutchman has what it takes to slowly but surely turn things around. These things take time, though, which is why the top four race feels a little bit unrealistic as a target this season.
The idea of them getting no European football at all sounds bad at first thought but without the distraction of the Europa League on Thursday nights, ten Hag could use an entire campaign to get a head start on the competition.