Manchester United had a bad start to the season as Erik ten Hag’s career at Manchester United began with two losses. However, since then, the team has significantly improved.
Manchester United Had a Bad Start To The Season, But The Past Few Weeks Have Been Encouraging
Manchester United had a bad start to the season as Erik ten Hag’s first season in the Premier League began with a disappointing start. Manchester United lost its first two games of the season by a combined score of 6-1, and it seemed unlikely that the team could finish in the top four of the standings.
However, since then Manchester United has won four straight Premier League games, and five of its last six games overall. A solid end to the summer transfer window, and changes to the team’s starting lineup, are the reasons why Manchester United has had success during the past few weeks.
The End of The Summer Transfer Window
Manchester United had a bad start to the season, but completed the signings of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, and Lisandro Martinez during the summer before the team began its pre-season games. After the team lost its second Premier League game 4-0 against Brentford, three more players joined the team during the final two weeks of this summer’s transfer window.
Those three players were Casemiro, Antony, and Martin Dubravka. All three players should significantly improve Manchester United’s squad this season.
Casemiro, who signed with Manchester United on August 19, has only started one game for the team so far this season. However, he provides important depth in midfield, and will likely be a member of Ten Hag’s starting lineup in most games before the end of the season.
Antony, who joined Manchester United from Ajax on August 30, made an instant impact in his first game in the Premier League. He scored the opening goal of Manchester United’s 3-1 win against Arsenal in the team’s most recent Premier League game.
As a left-footed right-winger, Antony will be one of Manchester United’s most important players moving forward. During the last few seasons, the team would have been significantly improved by a left-footed forward, and Ten Hag will hope that Antony can have an excellent first season as a Manchester United player.
Dubravka should provide important competition for David de Gea, who continues to be Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper. Ten Hag has emphasized goalkeepers who are excellent at passing and distributing the ball in the past. While Dubravka and De Gea don’t have extensive experience in either area, Ten Hag will hope to increase the competition to improve both players.
It is unlikely that Dubravka will become Manchester United’s starting goalie in Premier League games this season, but he will likely start most of the team’s matches within the Europa League and both the FA and EFL Cups. He should be an excellent backup goalie for Manchester United this season.
Changes to Manchester United’s Starting Lineup
Cristiano Ronaldo’s only start in the Premier League this season was against Brentford on August 13. Since then, Ronaldo has entered each of Manchester United’s Premier League games as a substitute, and he has not played more than 35 minutes in any of those games.
Ten Hag’s decision to use Ronaldo as a substitute is one of the most notable changes he has made to his preferred starting lineup this season. This season, Ten Hag has also made the decision to start Raphael Varane instead of Harry Maguire, Malacia instead of Luke Shaw, and Eriksen instead of Fred.
Maguire, Fred, Ronaldo, and Shaw were all key players for Manchester United last season. However, Manchester United has outscored opponents 7-2 in the Premier League since Ten Hag changed the team’s starting lineup.
Marcus Rashford, who has started at striker instead of Ronaldo over the last few weeks, has improved under Ten Hag so far this season. Rashford has scored three goals so far this year, including two goals against Arsenal, in addition to two assists. It is unlikely that Manchester United would have beaten Arsenal or Liverpool without Rashford, and he could have an excellent season.
Similarly to Rashford, Jadon Sancho has had a fantastic start to this season. Sancho scored only three Premier League goals during his first season with Manchester United, but he has already scored two Premier League goals this season in addition to another goal in the Europa League.
Manchester United had a bad start to the season, yet the changes Ten Hag has made at Manchester United over the past few months have made a significant impact on the team’s form. In addition, several players have improved so far this season. The start of Manchester United’s season didn’t go the way Ten Hag or the team expected, but the last few weeks have shown that Manchester United can have success in both the Premier League and Europa League.