Although Ten Hag worked well at Ajax, no one really knows what to expect from his Man Utd side – especially as the Dutchman needs to implement a full rebuild at Old Trafford.
But many Man Utd fans, and most likely those higher up at the club, will be targeting a return to the Champions League. Having finished second in 2020/21, Man Utd were fancied to put up a challenge for the title last season but finished sixth, some way off the top four.
Losing 12 of their 38 games, Man Utd suffered their worst ever Premier League season and were 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur come the end of the day. In fact, only a Brighton win over West Ham on the final day saved Man Utd from dropping to the Europa Conference League as they lost their last game of the season against Crystal Palace.
And Man Utd haven’t had the best of summer so far, with a lot of midfielders leaving the club including Paul Pogba, and no arrivals as of yet.
Nevertheless, Man Utd aren’t priced too high to finish in the top four. Only last season’s top four have shorter odds than the Red Devils in 2022/23, but there is a big points gap for them to overcome.
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As mentioned, Man Utd were fortunate not to finish outside the top six last season and, having Brighton to thank for their spot in the Europa League.
Although last season brought Man Utd’s worst season in terms of points, they have finished lower in the Premier League, with the 2013/14 campaign the only one in which they have finished outside the top six (seventh).
Given that history, and the strength of the so-called Big Six over the rest of the Premier League Man Utd will be fancied to finish in the top six, especially if Ten Hag is given the ability to build his team.
But what if Ten Hag is more Antonio Conte than David Moyes and can lead his new team all the way to Premier League glory in his first season?
Man Utd fans haven’t had much to celebrate in recent years and by the end of the 2022/23 season it’ll be 10 years since the Red Devils last lifted the Premier League trophy. The most successful team in the 30-year history of the Premier League and still the most successful team in English top-flight history, it’s Man Utd’s longest title drought since going 26 years between 1966/67 and 1992/93.
The closest Man Utd have come in recent years was the 2020/21 season when they finished runners-up to Man City but they were still 12 points behind their local rivals and last season were 35 off top.
Man Utd may not have a midfield at the time of writing but they do have a goalscorer. Although he is also being linked with a move away, Cristiano Ronaldo is the main man for goals at Old Trafford and should be again in 2022/23 as they missed out on the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.
Despite not really fitting into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick’s style of play, Ronaldo ended the 2021/22 Premier League campaign with 18 goals in 30 matches, and an average of 0.66 per 90 minutes. Only two players managed more goals than Ronaldo in the Premier League and they shared the Golden Boot, with Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min both netting 23 times.