Why a new-look Manchester United must hit the ground running next season – opinion

When the Premier League fixture list was released on Tuesday morning, attention briefly switched away from the European Championships – currently taking place in Germany – as thoughts turned towards August and yet another season of action-packed drama in the English top flight.

For Manchester United supporters all eyes will be on Friday, August 16 – as the 20-time English champions host the opening game of the campaign with a ‘Friday Night Football’ clash against Fulham under the lights at Old Trafford.

This will be the third time in the Premier League era that United will have faced the Cottagers on the opening day – with the Red Devils prevailing on both occasions – the first of which being a 3-2 comeback victory (in which Ruud van Nistelrooy scored his first Premiership goals), all the way back in 2001 – followed by a ruthless 5-1 thrashing of the Londoners in August 2006.

Perhaps this could prove to be a good omen for the Reds going into an uncertain season. 

A fast start

The forthcoming game against Fulham will evoke pleasant memories for Reds, as they cast their minds back to that  match from August ‘06 – which set the tone for a rampant start to the 2006/07 season for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, on a day when Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo put their World Cup differences to the side, and put Fulham to the sword.

Fergie’s team began that campaign at a scintillating pace – winning all of their first four games, scoring eleven goals – and, of course, eventually marching on to wrest the Premier League title away from Chelsea’s grasp, and claim their ninth League crown under the stewardship of the legendary Scottish manager. 

Now, as we will know only too well, United have not been genuine challengers for Premier League honours for over a decade now – and while I am certainly not of the opinion this will change next season, it would be a huge positive for a potentially new-look Manchester United side – under a new structure – to hit the ground running, and benefit from the experience of having a fast start to the campaign.

Belief

After some mixed early results on the domestic front in recent seasons, it is important for Erik ten Hag’s men to get off to a strong start this time around. This is especially true given the Dutch coach will no doubt be eager to show Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Co. that they made the right decision in retaining his services – rather than appointing their own man. 

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A run of early victories would do wonders for the mood around the club and it would also give supporters some much needed hope – at a time where we could really do with something to latch onto. 

The team – with the prospect of some potential new stars added in – would also get a huge lift, and, as we saw with the likes of Newcastle and Arsenal in recent years, a club with a newfound belief and feel-good-factor can certainly make a big impact – which would make for an intriguing prospect for everyone associated with Manchester United. 

This, of course, is all hypothetical – and it still remains to be seen how exactly the squad will look – as the new board’s summer transfer plans start to take shape.

However, it is something to to think about now that the league schedule has been revealed, we now know who the club will be playing in the early stages of the season. 

The Reds will commence their pre-season programme on July 15 with a friendly match against Rosenberg in Trondheim, Norway. They then take on Scottish side Rangers at Murrayfield on July 20, before jetting off to the United States for the 2024 summer tour.

Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a fascinating rollercoaster ride of emotions – as always!

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1 Comment

  1. Calm down Jerry, we were great last season and if a few decisions went our way, we would have finished second. Especially Garnacho being incorrectly called offside against Arsenal. That turned our whole season and set up their challenge. I’ve written to PGMOL to ask them to view offside lines from my angle so next season we will climb the table all the way to the top.

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