Manchester United kick off their campaign with the visit of Leeds in less than 24 hours and there are added expectations this season on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad.
After finishing third in his first full season at the club, and a second-place finish the following season, a title challenge is now the expectation, especially after big-money investments in Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
Although there was a 12-point distance between Manchester United and the eventual Premier League winners last season, Solskjaer has insisted that they have gradually closed the gap on Manchester City ahead of the new season.
“We’ve gradually closed the gaps, and of course, as I said in an interview a couple of days ago, nothing is beyond these players,” Solskjaer said in his pre-match press conference, as seen on the official Manchester United YouTube channel.
“I wouldn’t put it past them. Of course, it would need a very, very good season. A very disciplined season, a season with some margins and some luck.
“You wanna come to April and May and be in and around (the top). To do that, we’ve put the first chunk of work away. Now it’s about getting results. The first game is a big one, it decides the mood, really.”
Solskjaer’s preparations in this summer’s pre-season were hampered by the unavailability of some first-team regulars, with several players not featuring at all until the final game against Everton last week.
It will, however, have boosted the chances for some other players. Donny van de Beek, who struggled in his first season at Old Trafford, impressed in the off-season and could be given a second chance at the club.