Stretty News writers preview the 2023/24 season
The Premier League returns tonight when Man City travel to newcomers Burnley. Manchester United will have to wait until Monday night to kick off their campaign at home to Wolves.
A number of our writers at Stretty News have shared their verdicts on the new season. Will Manchester United make more progress and push for a title challenge or is it too soon for Erik ten Hag’s side?
Expectations are greater and there’s an appetite building for more trophies.
Dale O’Donnell, Editor
How have we done in the transfer window: “Better than I imagined. In terms of strengthening weak spots in the team, we’ve bolstered in all of those important areas. I do worry about replacing Anthony Martial with an injured striker, but at the same time I’m excited about Rasmus Hojlund’s potential and what we will bring Erik ten Hag’s team. Signing a goalkeeper that helps us transition into the type of team Ten Hag wants is a big boost, too.”
Existing strong/weak points: “Still light up front and I’d like a new right-back as well as cover for Casemiro.”
How do we think United will get on: “Let’s say compete for the title and a third/second place finish, with an FA Cup triumph on top of that. I’ll be happy if we reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. That would mark progress in my eyes.”
Who do we think will be relegated: “Everton, Wolves, Luton.”
Philip Morrissey, Writer
How have we done in the transfer window: “In general, it has been a good window. Areas that needed addressing have done so. Mount adds drive and creativity in midfield, Onana can hopefully perform the goal-keeping role that Ten Hag is looking for and Hojland is the central striker that many were crying out for. Personally, I would have liked a back-up to Case and another striker. There is still dead wood that needs to be cleared before any further signings arrive. That could be tougher than we imagine with ownership uncertainty.”
Existing strong/weak points: “Midfield if it clicks could be an area of dominance for us as Bruno, Casemiro and Mount should complement each other perfectly. The combination of Rashford, Hojland and Garnacho has pace to terrify most back-lines. Martinez and Varane can build on their partnership from last year and reduce the goals against tally. Right-back is still a position of concern and Sancho has yet to nail down the right-wing spot. Our squad depth is still shallow despite the signings also.”
How do we think United will get on: “I do think we can be a contender in the title-race. Man City look weaker on paper than what they were last year with the departure of senior players. I am yet to be convinced regarding some of the arrivals at Arsenal either. Our striking options last year without Rashford were hopeless and it showed with our goals scored. Improve that and we get closer to the top. We also need to better our Champions League performances as our record in recent seasons has been desperate.”
Who do we think will be relegated: “Wolves, Sheffield Utd and Luton.”
Matthew Henderson, Writer
How have we done in the transfer window: “This season I think United have left themselves in interesting shape. Getting used to the next stage in ten Hag developing the squad and style may well take a month or two, but I think the side will be much better placed for it. The lack of an established striker is a concern, but Marcus Rashford looked quite sharp there in what I saw versus Lens so may well not be the worst option to rotate with Hojlund. I’m struggling to see United finish outside the Top 4 if I’m honest. A challenge, or close one at least, is probably still a bridge too far, but much closer than 12 months ago.”
Existing strong/weak points: “United have bought and sold reasonably well I think. Losing Fred has cut me deep, but aside from that Elanga, Maguire and Kovar fetching decent money, maybe McTominay as well, and the players gone on a free were all necessary departures. Signings wise I can’t grumble much either, although Onana may well kill a few off. Two more in would satisfy me greatly.”
Who do we think will be relegated: “As for the rest of the league, relegation is potentially a 5/6 horse race. Sheffield United won’t survive, Luton may surprise people but will likely drop and I’m going to say (and hope) Wolves join them.”
Jonathan Kahn, Writer
How have we done in the transfer window: “We have to start by looking at the club’s business in the summer. The most obvious and maybe most needed change has come in goal. David de Gea deserves to be remembered fondly but after several high profile errors it was clear that Erik ten Hag wanted to go in a different direction with a keeper who is able to contribute in build up. In his former Ajax player Andre Onana he may have signed the best around and United should see the benefits. We’ve also added youth and energy and hopefully goals in Mason Mount which should ease the pressure o Christian Eriksen who looked like he had nothing left by the end on the season. Rasmus Hojlund is raw, talented but still highly unproven striker so the club will need Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and others to step up and help ease the pressure. The club is also making good progress on trimming the squad ,which was much needed after several years. Overall I think we can head into the season with great optimism It may be too soon to talk about a title challenge but a good finish and a challenge for some trophies should be the aim.”
Who do we think will be relegated: “At the bottom things look bleak for Sheffield United and Wolves whilst Luton will be the favourites for the drop The likes of Everton Fulham, Nottingham Forest and maybe even West Ham could get dragged into a fight if any of those sides manage to surprise.”
Fabiola Cejku, Writer
How have we done in the transfer window: “Amid talks for the new club ownership, one thing United have actually done right, is this summer’s transfer market. The headline to this summer’s deals: Ruthless and Fearless. Transfers have taken the right amount of time to be completed and Erik ten Hag has acquired all of his first-choice targets so far. Not long ago, fans were left disappointed as the rumours would be that the manager did not have the right amount of authority for transfer decisions.”
Exciting strong/weak points: “Fast forward to this season, the manager has been given more powers and the quality of the choices he has made is obvious. Will there be more? With Ten Hag you never know. I mentioned ruthless because United have surprisingly been active on showing some of the players the door. This isn’t particularly something we as fans are used to, and imagine then getting an actual good deal. For Manchester United to excel this season, a couple more signings would be particularly important especially in midfield, and then in the defence with Maguire rumoured to be on his way out. A key to our performances and success would be the striker situation and the adaptation. Many were left underwhelmed during the pre-season games, but our young, talented lads will drive this team forward. Given a few season defining moments from last season, I am hopeful that the team has learnt from these experiences. Time will tell but United could well be set up by the end of the summer to win the lot.”
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