Manchester United 2016/17 Season Preview : Title Contenders?

Manchester United have never gone four years without being crowned champions of the Premier League and after three miserable years, finishing 7th, 4th and 5th, they would be looking to keep things that way which does seem possible under three time Premier League champion, Jose Mourinho.

New Management

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Jose has already had a major impact on the team by making a few world class signings and winning the FA Community shield with the club. He, in his own words, wishes to make the team, "his team" and United fans all over the world would simply love that. 
After a devastating last season with Louis Van Gaal, it is taking quite some time for Jose to establish his style of play with the team because the ideas that were set by the Dutchman were applied for two years and have become habitual for the players, however, we have seen some sort of a change in the basic tempo of the game at times in pre-season, as well as the fact that the wingers and wing backs have started taking more risks, which should bear fruit when the season begins.

New Signings

Jose Mourinho and the Manchester United board have pulled off an exquisite performance in the transfer window. The manager wanted to sign four players before the curtain raiser on 14th August, and he's achieved that on the 10th.
Ever since his departure from Chelsea in the middle of the 15/16 season, Jose seems to have been studying the club and understanding where they have been lacking, so he seemed to have a clear idea of who he wanted to sign when he was appointed as the manager. 
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Starting the transfers was a proper central defender, something that United had not even thought of investing in last season, or so it seemed. Villareal's Eric Bailly signed without much hassle and despite a few wobbles here and there, has been impressive overall, so much so that he won the man of the match in United's Community Shield win over champions Leicester City
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Next came in the big man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. After Van Persie's departure, United lacked the attacking flair that they were once famous for, this led to less goals and a boring play overall. However, that seems to have been solved with the signing of a world class, out and out striker (also something that United were missing last season, other than Rashford, but by the time he arrived, it was already too late). With a goal on his Manchester United debut and a winner in the Community Shield match, Zlatan has already won the hearts of several United fans, it would indeed be exciting to see what he could do in the Premier League.
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A third signing was that of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, another crucial signing after the lack of pace of Mata on the right wing, and the not so good form of Jesse Lingard last season. Mkhitaryan is slightly more versatile and can play the role of an attacking central midfielder or a winger, he is highly decorated in both cases in the Bundesliga and scored against his old club, Borussia Dortmund in pre season, it would therefore be interesting to see what he could do in the Premier League.
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The final and most recent signing for Manchester United was Paul Pogba, which wasn't as much of a signing as a homecoming for the Frenchman. After leaving United for Juventus four years ago, Paul Pogba has become one of, if not the best midfielder in Europe. In fact, at the young age of 23, his form should only go up, so he does tend to be a prospect for the future as well.
I have a full report of how United's signings should do in the league, which you can read here
Overall, with some top signings and arguably the best transfer window so far, Manchester United could very well challenge for the title, as they should after spending that amount of money.

Overall Squad

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With a lethal attack and strong midfield after the recent signings, Manchester United should be able to tackle their biggest problem of the 15/16 campaign, that is, score more goals and attack a lot more. In fact the defence should be quite good as well, which it was last season (they had the joint best defensive record) added to which, is the in form goal keeper, David de Gea, who pretty much saved the team along with a handful of goals from Marcus Rashford last season. 

European Competition

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A fifth place finish allowed Manchester United to qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stages, the draw takes place on the 26th of August, which would make things a lot clearer, however, I do expect them to reach the semis or quarter finals at least,  if they don't face an extraordinarily tough opponent (something along the lines of Barcelona, if they aren't able to qualify for the champions league round of 16, oh the stuff dreams are made of)

Conclusion

Currently, things look like they're going Manchester Untied's way, they do seem to want to challenge for the title, and given most factors, they should be able to. However, worst case scenario, if they don't win, they should at least be able to secure Champions League qualification and have a decent enough position (semi final or final) in the FA Cup, but a lot could change as the season progresses, and all we can do is wait and watch.
Images : abc.net.au, Twitter (@Pa_Ward1)
Source : premierleague.com

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