Manchester United 2016-17:
Moments after Jesse Lingard’s thumping volley won United its 12th FA Cup, news broke out on British Media that United have lined up Jose Mourinho to replace Louis Van Gaal. It looked inevitable with rumours surfacing since late December 2015 that Mourinho will indeed be the man to take over from Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford. Come summer, Jose was officially announced as Manchester manager and there was positivity and optimism among the United fans again. This was expected as Jose is manager who has titles wherever he has been and in a very short period of time which makes him all the more special. He identified four positions which required strengthening to give balance to the squad. The four signings were Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba. Pogba was signed for a world record fee of 89 million pounds.
Louis Van Gaal had already planned the pre-season tour to China which consisted of two matches and Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City respectively. The match against Dortmund went ahead as per schedule but the match against City was cancelled due to bad weather and poor pitch conditions. Since players were returning from their break after participating in the Euros, majority of the squad could participate in two friendlies, one against Galatasaray and the other being Rooney’s testimonial.
Manchester United’s season began with the Community Shield against the premier league champions Leicester City. United won the match with a stunning solo effort from Lingard and a towering header from Ibrahimovic after Vardy had equalized for the Foxes. United made a great start to the season winning their first three matches against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City respectively. After the first international break was the eagerly anticipated Manchester Derby. United were entering into a difficult week with fixtures against Feyenoord in the Europa league and Watford in the league as well. It wasn’t just the Manchester Derby, it was Pep vs Jose. Clearly United were second best in all departments and suffered a 2-1 defeat. The misery didn’t end there as United suffered defeats against both Feyenoord and Watford. Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United was heavily criticized by the media. The major talking point being captain Wayne Rooney’s performance which went from bad to worse since the start of the season. For the next Premier league game against the Foxes captain Wayne Rooney was indeed dropped which expectedly grabbed all the headlines. United’s performance was great as they put four past Leicester in one half with the game ending 4-1. United entered October and their first fixture was a league game against Stoke. United created plenty of chances but scored only one and a rare mistake from keeper De gea meant that the game ended in a 1-1 draw. United came back with a hard fought point from Anfield against Liverpool and Mourinho was questioned because he set the team up in a way that it wouldn’t lose rather than going for a win. United’s October ended with a frustrating draw against Burnley where they once again created plenty of chances but failed to convert any of them. United’s next league game was an away trip to Swansea which they comfortably won 3-1. Most recently was the game against Arsenal where they played very deserving the three points but a defensive lapse led to an 89th minute Arsenal equalizer which cost them two points. Currently, United find themselves at the 6th position in the league table with 19 points and 6 points off the top 4.