A season that was supposed to be the renaissance of their English dominance, ended in a low morale as Manchester united came almost second best in every aspect. A season that started in a real prolific manner with the Mourinho team firing lots of goals and keeping clean sheets as well however ended in real disappointment. From 19 points behind their arch rivals Man City to a horrible champions league exit in the round of 16, this season left the Mancunians in absolute dismay. On the other hand the side that last season struggled against the top six, managed to beat them all this season.
Lets look at the highlights of the season:
● The Big Money Signings:
Last season Paul Pogba grabbed the headlines as the French midfielder was heavily criticized by the pundits and fans for his 100m tag and this season it was his dear friend Romelu Lukaku who was signed from Everton for a whopping 75 million. After scoring in almost every match at the start of the season the Belgian looked like the real deal but as the season continued the big Belgian became the villain of Manchester. Somehow he gained his confidence and had a mix season by his standards.
Nemanja Matic on the other hand had a solid season and was one of the consistent performer in the team.
The January swap of Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez grabbed all the headlines, everyone was expecting another RVP miracle but Sanchez since his arrival never looked to be a player he was in Arsenal. Overall he really has been poor under Mourinho’s strict system.
● Not The United Way:
Scoring for fun or losing to all promoted teams one thing was common in every aspect. The plying style. The Old Trafford faithful were in a real dismay as their beloved club couldn’t play exciting football like their arch rivals Liverpool and Manchester City. Some of the performances from the season showed the World that this is still not the Manchester United that threatened England, forget Europe.
● A Season of Progress :
Although this has been a real poor season in terms of the quality of gameplay and trophies but the team progressed under Mourinho undoubtedly. United finished 2nd in the league for the first time after Ferguson’s watch which clearly shows their progression. Players like Jesse Lingard, Scot Mctomminay, Ashley Young flourished and claimed their spots in the team convincingly. Last season they were heavily criticized for their lack of win against the top six but this season they showed how dangerous they can be when the shackles are off.
● Jose Mourinho’s 2nd Season Fairytale Ends:
Mourinho who always delivers in his second season seems to have lost his Midas touch as the Portuguese failed to win anything this season. As they started in a real strong manner most of us thought he will weave his magic again but somehow then he bottled it and turned the Mancunians against himself by controversial press conferences. His defensive approach at Anfiled or losing the Manchester derby at Old Trafford or losing to Sevilla at old Trafford was heavily criticized. And lastly the Wembley defeat against his former club Chelsea made the season more miserable.
● Champions League..Next Season:
With the league getting real tight, United managed to hold the second place which also means Champions League football next season. Probably this was the only positive of this poor season.
● Same Old Defensive Problems but Same Old DDG:
Signing Victor Lindelof from Benfica couldn’t really sought out the defensive drawbacks, as the Swede couldn’t really cope up in the Mourinho system. The defensive duo of Smalling and Jones had a mixed season and the fitness of Eric Bailly was a real headache for them. Still United managed to keep the most clean sheets in the league and one of the main reasons was the surreal David De Gea. The Spaniard claimed the United player of the year trophy and also the ‘Premiere League Golden Glove’ as he had another outstanding season.
● Overall season rating: 6/10
Certainly a progressed season overall but as per the standards of Mourinho and Manchester united, it has been a season of disappointments.
● Writer’s Take:
A mixed season but not all hopes are gone yet. This season certainly showed that this squad has the firepower to stand against the big boys only when they penetrate properly in the attacking third and the shackles are off. Jose certainly needs to change his approach towards the league as their noisy neighbors will certainly haunt them next season again. United will again target the best possible players to strengthen the squad which can be an important prospect for the next venture. But the dynamism of the team has to be offensive if they really want to establish the dominance again.