Football Features

A return to Fergie’s goalscoring standards? Five Man Utd predictions for Premier League 2021/22

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 11:49, 13 August 2021

Manchester United had an incredible summer in the transfer market and are now looking to attack the Premier League.

The Red Devils signed both Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane to massively boost the quality of their squad, moves the United management will hope to push them up into contending for the Premier League title.

United now have a team that can compete with anyone. But the question remains: will it? And what else is going to happen to the Red Devils this season? We took a look and came up with five predictions for Manchester United in the 2021/22 Premier League.

1. Man Utd’s first-choice starting XI to be…

Manchester United’s first XI is relatively settled, and while there will no doubt be rotation as the manager tries to keep the likes of Edinson Cavani fit for crucial games, or not overburden Marcus Rashford again once he returns from injury, the basic structure is well known.

Dean Henderson should beat out David de Gea to be the starting goalkeeper again while Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be joined by Rafael Varane to make one of the best defences (on paper) in Europe. Varane should add supreme authority, quality, experience and, most importantly, speed to a defence that needs all three.

Paul Pogba holds midfield next to Scott McTominay, the ever-running brute. Pogba will be lasering passes forward to Bruno Fernandes at the 10 spot but United will have an additional playmaker in the final third with Jadon Sancho. The addition of Sancho should shift United’s creativity to his flank, which will create more chances for Marcus Rashford (or Anthony Martial, or Dan James, or Mason Greenwood) to make off-the-ball runs and join Cavani in the box to be the major goal threats of the side.

2. Jadon Sancho will lead the team in assists

In the three seasons since he became a Borussia Dortmund regular, Jadon Sancho has registered 10+ assists. In fact, he is the first Englishman to pull off that feat since David Beckham did it over four straight years from 97/98 to 00/01.

And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Sancho is the only player besides Leo Messi to have notched 30+ goals and assists since the start of 2018/19, with 37 goals and 41 assists. It’s not quite Messi’s 91 and 43, but the fact he is the only other player in all of the big five leagues to pull this off shows how special he is.

Sancho is a creative menace. He’s instantly the most creative player in the United squad and the most dangerous man in the final third. He will absolutely be their major playmaker and should lead the team in assists this season. And probably many more seasons after that, too.

William Hill‘s PFA Player of the Year odds…

Jadon Sancho is priced at 11/1 by William Hill to win the PFA Player of the Year this season, behind only three rival players.

  • Kevin De Bruyne – 11/2
  • Harry Kane – 13/2
  • Jack Grealish – 7/1
  • Jadon Sancho – 11/1
  • Mohamed Salah & Bruno Fernandes – 12/1

18+ only. BeGambleAware. Odds in this article correct at the time of publication (11.45AM, 13/08/21).

3. Mason Greenwood to surpass Romelu Lukaku

While his 2020/21 wasn’t as prolific as his 2019/20, Mason Greenwood was plenty impressive last season. He scored just seven Premier League goals last season compared to 10 the year before. However that total of 17 puts him level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in terms of Premier League goals scored for Manchester United. It’s a tally you’d expect him to break before next summer.

As he scores goals this season (and one expects he’ll bag more than the 17 across all competitions he got in 2019/20), Greenwood will move up that list and pass luminaries like Brian McClair, Carlos Tevez, Danny Welbeck, Andrei Kanchelskis and, yes, Romelu Lukaku.

The man on his way back to Stamford Bridge for a cool £97.5m scored 28 Premier League goals in red, and Greenwood is (we think) going to surpass that this season. He’ll need a career-best 12 goals to do it, but when you consider his finishing paired with Sancho’s creativity, do you really think he won’t manage it?

4. Bringing it all back home

The last time Manchester United lost a Premier League game away from home, it was January 2020 and they fell to defeat at Anfield. Since then, it’s been 26 games (more than an entire domestic season!) without defeat for United’s road warriors.

Meanwhile their home form has suffered. Last season they lost six times at Old Trafford, including a dreadful start where they won just one of the first six games at the Theatre of Dreams. They were good away and bad at home, but that changes now because of one thing: the fans are back.

With stands packed full of supporters again the likelihood United go an entire season with no away defeats is less conceivable. The atmosphere at some Premier League grounds will surely get to them and buoy the home side, toppling them over.

However, the good news is that United can bring that invincibility back home, where their own crowd will roar them on and give the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani and, yes, Jadon Sancho the kind of adoration and worship that should propel them to new heights.

Manchester United can go the entire Premier League season with, at most, one home defeat while we feel it’s quite likely they will be unbeaten at Old Trafford for the whole of 2021/22.

5. United to get back on a Fergie-level

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, it was routine for Manchester United to bag over 20 wins. In fact they did it for 22 consecutive seasons under the great man. They usually scored more than 80 goals, as well, doing so in five of Fergie’s seven last seasons (and in one of those misses they had 78 goals). They were a prolific side who always competed.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, United haven’t scored more than 80 goals once. The closest they came was last season’s 73. They’ve also only bagged more than 20 wins twice. It’s been a miserable old time of things full of false starts and absolute nonsense.

Not now, though. Now United have had a great summer and their first XI is looking magnificent and while the squad depth isn’t exactly Man City levels, it’s better than it was. As a result, you can fully expect United to score more than 80 goals and notch more than 20 wins in the same season for the first time since 2012/13, the final season of Sir Alex’s reign.

William Hill‘s 2021/22 Premier League title odds…

  • Man City – 4/6
  • Liverpool – 5/1
  • Chelsea – 5/1
  • Man Utd – 8/1
  • Leicester – 40/1

18+ only. BeGambleAware. Odds in this article correct at the time of publication (11.45AM, 13/08/21).