What Will Manchester United Do This Season?*
|Win the Premier League||100/1||Paddy Power|
|Top two finish in the Premier League||25/1||10Bet|
|Top four finish in the Premier League||4/5||10Bet|
|Finish outside the top four in the Premier League||13/8||Betfair|
|Win the FA Cup||8/1||Unibet|
|Win the Champions League||15/1||Unibet|
*Odds up to date as of December 10, 2021
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After finishing second to champions Manchester City last season, optimism was high at Old Trafford to kick on from that, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the club he made his name at a decade earlier. Many of the leading bookmakers had United among the contenders to challenge for the title this season.
However, it has been a struggle for United to find the consistency required to make them genuine title contenders. A 5-0 loss at home to Liverpool was the beginning of the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was sacked following another nightmare loss, 4-1 at Watford.
Michael Carrick held things together with two wins and a draw in his three games in charge before handing over to Ralf Rangnick. There is plenty for Rangnick to be optimistic about, but he knows he has a lot of work to do to close the gap on Chelsea at the top of the table. A good run in the Champions and winning the FA Cup would bring some much needed cheer to United supporters all over the world.
If United fans needed some encouragement about Rangnick's appointment, they got it from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who insists his compatriot's arrival will be bad news for the rest of the Premier League.
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Top Four Quest Needs An Improved Defence
Rangnick has started life as Manchester United manager well and with a busy schedule of fixtures coming up, he will have plenty of chances to find out what his strongest starting line-up is. United will play two games a week for the rest of the year which reduces the amount of time the German can work with the squad on the training ground implementing his style of play. But the reports from his peers suggest the German is capable of sorting this team out on the go.
When we welcome in 2022, we will have a bigger study sample to see how United look under Rangnick and if they can climb the table. United's poor form has ruled them out of the title race this season, barring a miracle. But there is better value for the Red Devils to finish in the top two although that even that might be beyond them.
Rangnick will be looking to establish his new team as a top four side. They are not a million miles away from moving into the top four and 10Bet have United at 4/5 to finish fourth or better. Betfair have odds of 13/8 for United to miss out on a top four finish.
United will not achieve any of their goals this season if they do not improve their defence. United have struggled. Rangnick is regarded as a great organiser and tactician, and the quicker he improves the defence the better United's prospects for the remainder of the season will be.
While United have failed to stop the majority of their opponents from scoring, the three sides they are chasing at the top of the table, all have a knack of stopping their opponents from scoring. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have built their success on clean sheets to highlight the importance of having a strong well organised defence.
Ten points behind Liverpool, Rangnick will have his sights sets on second place if top spot remains beyond their reach. United are 25/1 with 10Bet to finish in the top two.
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United Might Be A Champions League Dark Horse
Anyone who has watched United this season will laugh at suggestions that the Old Trafford side could win the Champions League. But at 15/1 with Unibet, it might be a bet worth considering.
United secured their place in the Round of 16 with a game to spare which took the pressure off Rangnick who has plenty of time to sort his side out before the Champions League knockout stage starts. The German has three and a half months until the middle of February to impose his style of play on this team
How far United go in the Champions League will depend on the draw which is scheduled to be made on Monday. If they can avoid some of the bigger guns in Europe, then Rangnick will hope to go deep in Europe's elite club competition.
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FA Cup Success Would Be A Step In The Right Direction
There was a time when Manchester United were regular finalists in the FA Cup and with their name on the iconic trophy 12 times, the competition has been kind to the Red Devils. The last time they lifted the trophy was in May 2016 when Louis Van Gaal guided United to a come from behind 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Jesse Lingard scored the extra-time winner and he will hope to play a big role for Rangnick after being left out of the squad for much of the season so far. United fans would welcome success in the FA Cup as it would end their trophy drought that lasted throughout Solskjaer's three years in charge.
The last trophy United won was the Europa League in May 2017 when Jose Mourinho steered the club to a 2-0 win over Ajax in the Stockholm final. It's not the trophy United fans have at the top of their wish list, but they will happily take any trophy to kick-start the club's fortunes.
United get their FA Cup challenge under way in January with a home tie against Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa. To win trophies, any team has to have a bit of luck and they know that they will have to beat some big teams along the way and United are 8/1 with Unibet to win the trophy for a 13th time.
If Rangnick does enjoy success this season, it will leave the club with a difficult decision to make. Rangnick is in charge until the end of this season, but if he get the team clicking, could they really move on from him and pursue the other names on the list of candidates to be the next manager of Manchester United?