Manchester United could win 4 trophies this year, here’s how
Manchester, England –
In just 12 months, Manchester United went from ridicule to cheers.
Sunday’s League Cup final celebrations at Wembley came one year after a chorus of boos rang out around Old Trafford after a goalless draw with outnumbered Watford.
The 20-time England champions went on to record their worst season in the Premier League, trailing title-winning Manchester City by 35 points.
When Erik ten Hag took over as new manager last summer, few could have predicted such a rapid turnaround. But the man who led Ajax to his three Dutch titles in his four seasons has already put United back on a winning path, ending a six-year trophy shortfall and the club in the final month of the campaign. Towards and continues to fight on his three fronts.
Quadruples may be unlikely, but United are still in contention in all domestic competitions and advanced to the last 16 of the Europa League after last week’s memorable win over Spanish league leaders Barcelona. .
And with confetti still littering Wembley’s fields, Ten Hag set out on his mission to deliver more silverware.
“It’s a February cup, but it points us in the right direction. It must be an inspiration,” he said. “If you work hard, if you stick together, things are possible.”
United will host West Ham in the fifth round on Wednesday, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
The competition has already begun after many Premier League clubs were eliminated in the early rounds, including league leaders Arsenal, cupholders Liverpool and big-money Chelsea.
Fulham taking on Leeds means another top-flight team will make way before the next round, with losers between United and West Ham.
City, along with fourth-placed Tottenham, remain the biggest threat should United win.
Both of these teams face opposition in the Second Division, with City moving to Bristol City on Tuesday and Spurs playing at Sheffield United on Wednesday.
A win over Barcelona, seven points ahead of Champions League winners Real Madrid, put United into the title favourites.
However, many big names remain in the competition, including Arsenal, Juventus and Roma.
United should be feeling confident after defeating Barca in the play-offs in the round of 16 against another Spanish side at Real Betis. But even though the Europa League is considered the second-level competition in European football, many challenges await Ten Hag’s side if they are promoted again.
The schedule of the tournament has also been a problem in the past for the team, given that the game takes place on Thursday night and could affect preparations for domestic matches over the weekend.
A long-term title challenge could be too much for a still-developing side, but third-placed United are currently in contention for the lead, eight points behind Arsenal.
And having already faced both Arsenal and City twice this season, they have a chance to close the gap when the top pair meet again in April.
Ten Hag is encouraged by the fact that while Arsenal have shown signs of wobble in recent weeks and City are still not entirely convinced, his side is improving as the season progresses.
The depth of United’s squad could be the biggest obstacle. Christian Eriksen has missed most of the rest of the season with an ankle injury and Anthony Martial has struggled to stay fit.
Ten Hag is relying more than he would have liked on Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer, who signed loan deals in January. Both contribute, but cannot offer the same quality as Eriksen or Marshall.
Casemiro’s recent suspension has left Marcus Rashford the main source of goals while the team struggles to cope with his absence.
Anything that happens to the England forward could ruin United’s season.
United’s lack of title experience is one reason why back-to-back winners like Casemiro and Rafael Varane could be important late in the season. Lisandro Martinez and Anthony have also won league titles at Ajax under Ten Hag.
Under iconic former manager Alex Ferguson, United became the first and only English football team to win the league title, Champions League and FA Cup in one season in 1999.
City won the domestic league, FA Cup and League Cup in 2019.
Liverpool were chasing an unprecedented quad last season but ended up only finishing in the FA Cup and League Cup after finishing runners-up in the league and losing to Madrid in the Champions League final.
After winning one trophy, winning a second trophy and finishing in the top four of Champions League qualifiers would be considered a huge success for Ten Hag.