Better than we think? Some optimism

Martial'sEmergingSmile

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
 
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Snuffkin

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Our post form prior to lockdown was superb. There are reasons to be hopeful, but Chelsea and Leicester look sharp now. We probably don't need players but we saw the lift that Bruno gave the team. It is obvious that to get the best out of our talented squad we need new blood.
 

Gazza

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
Good way of looking at it, and I agree with pretty much every word
 

kouroux

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If Conte was managing this squad, we would be expecting a solid title push. To win and to be there at the end of the season would be a stretch but we should be comfortably top four and at least sustaining some sort of form for a strong finish.

I honestly find it a bit small time how many say we are 'sooo far away from Liverpool/City' and that we need Sancho and a few more signings i.e we need a world class squad of a first eleven and bench. The sum of their parts are greater because of the managing/coaching.

That's not a dig at Ole because he's done great and perhaps an underrated job in getting us back on track with good transfers and squad man management. However, it would be inexcusable if we were still playing like last year.

Blizting teams with our athleticism and individual brillance then coming unstuck as we're unable to break down teams due to unrehearsed/coaching patterns and tactics. And then the excuses with 'the players are not good enough', 'what do you expect we can't bring on £50m xyz player', 'the first 11 is tired from carrying the team, we need more depth' etc.

If we're more than 10 points away from the league winners this year I would be disappointed.

This squad has lots of potential and talent, which is credit to Ole but to think we're on another planet to those front two is just underplaying the quality we have.

On the one hand, I'm not ignoring our woeful past seasons and the rebuild job we have. I'm also not expecting progress to be just a straight upward curve but if we're not solid 3rd and show great dominance (against all teams) through the season, it'll be just another by the numbers season for me.
Setting yourself up for disappointment I'm afraid.
 

Roboc7

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Probably, but we can hope it will change. If we could have really good luck with injuries and coach things a bit better behind the scenes then things could go far.
People overstate the quality difference needed to improve.
For Liverpool to do it they really added mainly Allison and Van Dijk to a team ending in 4th.
One guy for us in or some players improving could make a huge difference.

We need to find good form and improve players too. Get our fringe players to be able to do a job.
They have shown the capacity before so it is about getting them into the right state physically and mentally for the job.
Hopefully we can get Rashford back in top form with Martial up front. Those two can be deadly with supply from Bruno and Pogba.
Your underestimating something Liverpool have that we don’t which is a top class manager. That’s not a criticism of Ole just the reality, to close that gap everything has to be better, recruitment, the manager, coaching and the players. That’s what happened a Liverpool not just a couple of signings.

We’re just stuck in the same cycle and this season will be a predictable battle for top 4 just like this transfer window has gone exactly as expected with same old errors.
 

bosnian_red

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Probably, but we can hope it will change. If we could have really good luck with injuries and coach things a bit better behind the scenes then things could go far.
People overstate the quality difference needed to improve.
For Liverpool to do it they really added mainly Allison and Van Dijk to a team ending in 4th.
One guy for us in or some players improving could make a huge difference.

We need to find good form and improve players too. Get our fringe players to be able to do a job.
They have shown the capacity before so it is about getting them into the right state physically and mentally for the job.
Hopefully we can get Rashford back in top form with Martial up front. Those two can be deadly with supply from Bruno and Pogba.
Liverpool signing Van Dijk in January can be similar to us signing Bruno. They then added Allison, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Shaqiri. They addressed midfield and attacking depth, and signed a world class defensive mid and a world class goalkeeper. They built on their momentum and improved the depth so that the key players can stay fresh and they have some cover for them.

We signed Bruno who had a transformative impact. We signed midfield depth in Van de Beek which was good. And then stopped. We have a hole at RW, nothing. We have an injury prone left back with no back up. We have no backup for our young attackers. We could use a better CB to partner Maguire. Comparing us to that Liverpool window would've been to sign Reguilon, Sancho, Van de Beek and Upamecano basically. It's what Chelsea did with their signings. We're squandering our chance to do anything useful, and instead will see loads of problem areas during the season. If we sign nobody in these next 2.5 weeks, and ignore the January market, next summer we'll need to address:
  • Cdm with Matic being 33 and needing replacing
  • Midfield depth, as Pogba will have 1 year left on his contract and we'd likely sell in that scenario (VdB to replace in starting 11, leaving little depth)
  • RW since we still don't have anyone there
  • Attacking depth since Ighalo is gone, and assuming we address RW, we'd have Martial, Rashford, New RW, Greenwood and Dan James (need another body there so you can do a main and backup 11 to fill the squad properly)
  • LB depth/starter as Shaw will have his injuries again and we won't have cover apart from playing players out of position, weakening depth in the areas they should be covering
  • CB starting quality to partner Maguire
Its a list that will change every year and expand, so you have to stay on top of things. The plan was likely to address starting RW now, address backup attack in January when Ighalo leaves, address left back now and leave it to next summer to address CDM/Pogba/CB. Which is fine, if we actually did something for those areas. Now we have an ever growing list of problems that'll bite us in the ass if left untouched.
 

bosnian_red

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If Conte was managing this squad, we would be expecting a solid title push. To win and to be there at the end of the season would be a stretch but we should be comfortably top four and at least sustaining some sort of form for a strong finish.
If Conte was here, he would resign based on how we've handled the transfer window. Hes done it or threatened to do it at multiple clubs. If he feels like he didn't get backed in the window and doesn't have the new players to achieve the heightened targets, he just quits.
 

tomaldinho1

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)
AWB should be green if Lindelof is green IMO.
For me we have a top four back 5 but without much depth: DDG/Hendo| Shaw,Maguire,Lindelof, AWB
An arguably world class (on paper/depending on system) midfield: Matic, Pogba, Bruno, VDB

The issue comes with our front three, I don't think Greenwood is good enough as an RW & we have so little depth of any quality. Sancho would change that although I'd still like us to have some other signings even if someone like Sarr who would be great for depth.
 

GlasgowCeltic

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When you look at it on paper like that the attack really needs two more rather than one, the strain once that front three will be enormous and im not sure Greenwood is ready for it. It was probably unrealistic but I honestly thought it was a Sancho and Grealish summer
 

Gandalf Greyhame

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
That's a pretty good way of looking at depth. The lack of options in the front three positions is extremely worrying. There will also be the inevitable inconsistency factor with Greenwood since he's just 18 and will have dips in form, miss silly finishes and obvious passes, go through confidence issues or just be tired going into games. If Martial or Rashford have a long term injury, we're pretty much out of contention for top four.

We need more attacking depth, and we have almost run out of time to address it.
 

DoomSlayer

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It's so crazy how every summer we see the same mistakes from the board. Just get 2 more players similar to the VDB type signing to reinforce the squad.

No need to splash the cash on a single player when obviously there are a few areas that require strengthening. I know Ole gets that as well because he didn't hesitate to go for VDB when Villa put that £80m tag on Grealish.
 

Foxbatt

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You have to think of the competition too. Now Spurs and Arsenal are in the mix too. I don't see us getting 4th place with the current squad.
 

Jonesno.8

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With the current squad, we are reliant on luck with injuries but its not a forgone conclusion for no top 4. The CB situation isn't great we really need Tuanzebe to step up or Lindelof to play above what we've seen so far. Centre mid is strong, just about who compliments who and the ability to change formations. The right side still an issue but I do think our strongest 11 is well capable of finishing top 4. I get the add CL and FA Cup is where can come unstuck but a good group draw with not too much travel im not giving in to the gloom being proposed on here.
 
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Luke1995

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Do you guys trust in either of Luke Shaw or Brandon Williams to play an entire season on a good level ?

That left back spot could be our achiles heel
 

criticalanalysis

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Setting yourself up for disappointment I'm afraid.
Luckily I'm able to separate what I want to happen from my actual expectations.

But it doesn't change the fact I still want to go toe-to-toe against your Liverpool/City/Chelseas i.e teams that flat out want to dominate possession and not play reactive/containment type football. Obviously there's a balance but it's just so small time, especially with the players we have.

I look at the way Everton are set up under Ancelotti with their midfield and if we get out possessed by them in the games this season then that will speak volumes about the progress we've made from a coaching/tactical pov.


If Conte was here, he would resign based on how we've handled the transfer window. Hes done it or threatened to do it at multiple clubs. If he feels like he didn't get backed in the window and doesn't have the new players to achieve the heightened targets, he just quits.
That aside, he gets his team playing good and competitive football within one season. Most managers would not look at Utd's squad and think 'hm it's very bad, I need more players'. Our first team is more than capable enough if the coaching is there.
 

bosnian_red

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Luckily I'm able to separate what I want to happen from my actual expectations.

But it doesn't change the fact I still want to go toe-to-toe against your Liverpool/City/Chelseas i.e teams that flat out want to dominate possession and not play reactive/containment type football. Obviously there's a balance but it's just so small time, especially with the players we have.

I look at the way Everton are set up under Ancelotti with their midfield and if we get out possessed by them in the games this season then that will speak volumes about the progress we've made from a coaching/tactical pov.




That aside, he gets his team playing good and competitive football within one season. Most managers would not look at Utd's squad and think 'hm it's very bad, I need more players'. Our first team is more than capable enough if the coaching is there.
The coaching of our first team is fine. Our results were fine, we finished 3rd and reached 3 semi finals. The problem is the squad depth which is what everyone is saying, which is what is blindingly obvious to everyone and what Ole has made pretty apparent as well. And that's what will kill us this season, not Ole being manager or anything else.
 

Mindhunter

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I am typically very optimistic and try to refrain from knee-jerk reactions and opinions. Having said that though, there is no way to paint this situation in good light. We will struggle immensely if we don't strengthen.

Man City and Liverpool are light years ahead. Even if they drop a few notches, it will take Rafa levels of performance drop for them to reach our level. Chelsea have strengthened significantly and will surely finish above us if things stay the way they are right now.

In our case, our late season resurgence was a shot in the arm due to the Bruno transfer. If he ends up getting injured or burned out and misses a lot of action, we will drop points at will because we struggled to make any inroads without him playing in the hole.

We are highly dependent on our key players in Martial, Pogba, and Bruno and any extended period of absence from any of them will be catastrophic to our chances. The team is still not a well oiled machine to continue to operate at peak efficiency even if a vital cog is missing.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I am typically very optimistic and try to refrain from knee-jerk reactions and opinions. Having said that though, there is no way to paint this situation in good light. We will struggle immensely if we don't strengthen.

Man City and Liverpool are light years ahead. Even if they drop a few notches, it will take Rafa levels of performance drop for them to reach our level. Chelsea have strengthened significantly and will surely finish above us if things stay the way they are right now.

In our case, our late season resurgence was a shot in the arm due to the Bruno transfer. If he ends up getting injured or burned out and misses a lot of action, we will drop points at will because we struggled to make any inroads without him playing in the hole.

We are highly dependent on our key players in Martial, Pogba, and Bruno and any extended period of absence from any of them will be catastrophic to our chances. The team is still not a well oiled machine to continue to operate at peak efficiency even if a vital cog is missing.
Chelsea is bit too overrated here. Chelsea starting XI are pretty much the same level as our starting XI on paper. They are only better in squad depth than us as they got Mount, Abraham & Giroud while we have Lingard, Mata & Ighalo. So I don't get this obsession that they "will surely" finish above us. If the only difference between us & Chelsea right now on paper is the squad depth then we still have 3 weeks period to sign 2 players to improve our squad depth.
 

tenpoless

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Chelsea is bit too overrated here. Chelsea starting XI are pretty much the same level as our starting XI on paper. They are only better in squad depth than us as they got Mount, Abraham & Giroud while we have Lingard, Mata & Ighalo. So I don't get this obsession that they "will surely" finish above us. If the only difference between us & Chelsea right now on paper is the squad depth then we still have 3 weeks period to sign 2 players to improve our squad depth.
I feel the same but I see it from different angle. Just because they added good players from other leagues, doesn't mean they would click instantly. It's a massive change in the terms of personnel. I would be worried if they all came from another PL clubs but as it is, Chelsea has a big question mark. Gathering good players is one thing but getting them all to perform and to develop chemistry is another one. I think we've seen time and time again, even at United, the big names who failed, just because they couldn't adapt to PL and/or the club. United on the other hand, only added on top of what they've already got up and running. Chelsea has just started their rebuilding process, it's not a video game.
 

Strelok

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
Good post.

But I'd put Lindelof and DDG on yellow.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I feel the same but I see it from different angle. Just because they added good players from other leagues, doesn't mean they would click instantly. It's a massive change in the terms of personnel. I would be worried if they all came from another PL clubs but as it is, Chelsea has a big question mark. Gathering good players is one thing but getting them all to perform and to develop chemistry is another one. I think we've seen time and time again, even at United, the big names who failed, just because they couldn't adapt to PL and/or the club. United on the other hand, only added on top of what they've already got up and running. Chelsea has just started their rebuilding process, it's not a video game.
The names they brought in are not comparable to what we called world class or elite. They aren't signing Mbappe or Neymar. Imo the players they are brought in are not Salah, De bruyne, Mane, Van Dijk, Aguero & Sterling level. I'm not saying they won't ever be on those players level but at the moment they are more of our starting XI level Martial, Bruno, Rashford, Greenwood & debatable Pogba's level.
 

tenpoless

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The names they brought in are not comparable to what we called world class or elite. They aren't signing Mbappe or Neymar. Imo the players they are brought in are not Salah, De bruyne, Mane, Van Dijk, Aguero & Sterling level. I'm not saying they won't ever be on those players level but at the moment they are more of our starting XI level Martial, Bruno, Rashford, Greenwood & debatable Pogba's level.
Yup! they are all good players but none of them are world class.
 

Strelok

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Tbh I find the fact we're comparing our squad with Chelsea pretty sad. After last season I was expecting a good summer so we would start to compare our squad with City and Liverpool now. The fact we're comparing only to Chelsea speak volumes about our summer. Even if we sign a RW to cover our glaring hole, if not Sancho make us no where near Liverpool or City. Tbh I'm so disappointed and pessimistic about the coming season.
 

AsonUnique

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Chelsea is bit too overrated here. Chelsea starting XI are pretty much the same level as our starting XI on paper. They are only better in squad depth than us as they got Mount, Abraham & Giroud while we have Lingard, Mata & Ighalo. So I don't get this obsession that they "will surely" finish above us. If the only difference between us & Chelsea right now on paper is the squad depth then we still have 3 weeks period to sign 2 players to improve our squad depth.
I do think it will take time for them to click and they will be more likely to make a run in 21/22. But don't forget we finished even with them last year and they have added 5, potentially 6 starters if they get the new keeper. They strengthened their biggest weakness with Silva at CB and Chilwell at LB. Werner was the 2nd best striker in Germany, Havertz who I think will struggle a bit is a huge prospect and Ziyech has been one of the best players in the Eredivisie for a couple years. Players that got experience and started many of their games last year are now rotational players for them. On the flip side they have more deadwood than we do but they do a better job loaning and selling.

Our starting 11s are pretty even but they are much more prepared for Champions League, cup runs and this condensed season. Whether it works out or not they identified their weaknesses and made moves to improve them, they brought in a balance of experience and potential and on paper it looks pretty good.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I do think it will take time for them to click and they will be more likely to make a run in 21/22. But don't forget we finished even with them last year and they have added 5, potentially 6 starters if they get the new keeper. They strengthened their biggest weakness with Silva at CB and Chilwell at LB. Werner was the 2nd best striker in Germany, Havertz who I think will struggle a bit is a huge prospect and Ziyech has been one of the best players in the Eredivisie for a couple years. Players that got experience and started many of their games last year are now rotational players for them. On the flip side they have more deadwood than we do but they do a better job loaning and selling.

Our starting 11s are pretty even but they are much more prepared for Champions League, cup runs and this condensed season. Whether it works out or not they identified their weaknesses and made moves to improve them, they brought in a balance of experience and potential and on paper it looks pretty good.
They finished even with us but you are forgetting that we've been running our season without Pogba for most of the season, while Bruno only involved in 40% of last season & Greenwood just recently developed to our regular player. Ever since we signed Bruno, in 1st Feb 2020 to end of the season we had 9 wins, 5 draws in 14 league games, scored 30 goals and conceded 7 goals.

Those three, Van De Beek & Dean are pretty much like 4-5 new additional that we never had for most of the 60% last season and we added those players to improve the area that were considered as our weaknesses too. Another two more signings to improve our squad depth (Lingard & Mata) is still possible within 3 weeks of transfer window.

It doesn't matter what they did in summer transfer window, end of the day it's about how much improved they are with those signings. On paper, they improved their starting XI to be on par with our level rather than on City/Liverpool level. We conceded 36 goals last season, 3rd behind Liverpool (33) & City (35), while Chelsea conceded almost double ''54 goals'' last season. 36 years old Silva, heavily critcised Chilwell and their unknown name keeper from Ligue 1 will not guarantee their defense to be on par with Van Dijk, Allison & Robertson. On paper, their front three & midfield are more in our level than in Liverpool or City level.
 

Isotope

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Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
Love this. Although all is obviously objective, but you made an interesting angle to value United squad.
 

jbwilliamz

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De Gea, Henderson, Romero
Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird
Maguire, Bailly, Rojo
Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Jones
Shaw, Williams
Bruno, Pogba, Matic, VDB, McTom, Fred, Pereira - I'd feel really comfortable with any combo of greens starting...ordered by confidence.
Rashford, James
Martial, Ighalo
Greenwood, Lingard, Mata

Green - Ready to compete in a title challenging squad (15)
Yellow - Jury's out (3)
Red - Not good enough (7)
Blue - Promising prospect (4)

That's a 25 man squad and 4 academy kids - although Axel is maybe pushing the 'kid' title a little bit.

I think it's clear that our midfield is now a huge strength. Our goalkeeping situation is promising too - assuming the intense level of competition between the sticks ends up being a motivating positive and not a nerve-wracking negative.

We're very light at full-back. Personally, I'd have had AWB as a
Red because I just don't believe that somebody who struggles so much against any sort of press, and is so awkward technically, can feature in a team who's eventual aim is to challenge for titles. Outside of 1v1 I'm not even that convinced about his defending.

Centre-back, hopefully Mengi or Axel can come through. We could definitely do with a quality addition, but it's not one of our glaring problem positions.

We're absolutely threadbare in attacking positions. A strong starting 3, followed by big drop offs in quality. In an ideal world we'd get a starting-calibre addition as well as a young talent. James is another one who's very much verging on a
Red but deserves one more season.

Overall, we've got a very good starting 11 -
10 Greens for me - but very little by way of quality depth. With the fixture congestion that's going to plague this season any significant injury crisis is going to see us struggle hugely. Any rotation, which will be needed, is also going to see us struggle.

We desperately need some quality additions in the next few weeks.
Considering how little cover there is attacking wise, the decision to send Chong on loan is a strange one since their struggling to bring anyone in.
 

GBBQ

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Considering how little cover there is attacking wise, the decision to send Chong on loan is a strange one since their struggling to bring anyone in.
Chong needs regular first team football so I think regardless of our own situation it is for the greater good that he goes out and gets a full season at a decent team where he will get game time.

But regarding attacking options, we assume we are struggling but I think its telling we didn't go for Bale (United having CL football, no right sided winger and an attack minded coach like Ole would surely be more attractive than going to Spurs under Mourinho). Leads me to believe that we're still aiming for Sancho and if we don't get him we have someone else lined up (maybe Costa or Brooks). Being honest, given Sancho's potential I'll forgive everything if they get it over the line.
 

rollingstoned1

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They finished even with us but you are forgetting that we've been running our season without Pogba for most of the season, while Bruno only involved in 40% of last season & Greenwood just recently developed to our regular player. Ever since we signed Bruno, in 1st Feb 2020 to end of the season we had 9 wins, 5 draws in 14 league games, scored 30 goals and conceded 7 goals.

Those three, Van De Beek & Dean are pretty much like 4-5 new additional that we never had for most of the 60% last season and we added those players to improve the area that were considered as our weaknesses too. Another two more signings to improve our squad depth (Lingard & Mata) is still possible within 3 weeks of transfer window.

It doesn't matter what they did in summer transfer window, end of the day it's about how much improved they are with those signings. On paper, they improved their starting XI to be on par with our level rather than on City/Liverpool level. We conceded 36 goals last season, 3rd behind Liverpool (33) & City (35), while Chelsea conceded almost double ''54 goals'' last season. 36 years old Silva, heavily critcised Chilwell and their unknown name keeper from Ligue 1 will not guarantee their defense to be on par with Van Dijk, Allison & Robertson. On paper, their front three & midfield are more in our level than in Liverpool or City level.
agreed, there is something to be said for organic development of a squad and i'm not that fussed if we won't be challenging for the title this season while acknowledging teams don't develop or regress linearly. We haven't been locks for top 4 for a few years so we really shouldn't turn our noses up at 'turning into arsenal' for a short period of time while looking to take the team up a level. Pool could have a gigantic drop off - they won a lot of close tight games 1-0 - and even a 10 per cent improvement just because we have a full complement of players available plus a few signings will mean we are in a much stronger position than the ramshackle beginning we had last year which a lot of ole critics conveniently gloss over in all their skepticism and desire to seem objective.
 

GlasgowCeltic

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Those three, Van De Beek & Dean are pretty much like 4-5 new additional that we never had for most of the 60% last season and we added those players to improve the area that were considered as our weaknesses too. Another two more signings to improve our squad depth (Lingard & Mata) is still possible within 3 weeks of transfer window.

It doesn't matter what they did in summer transfer window, end of the day it's about how much improved they are with those signings.
Think this is a bit of a stretch mate. You’ve basically written off all their signings just because they’re new signings, while using a squaddie signing VDB as justification for your point before finishing with “and if we add one or two more...”
 

Godfather

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One or two injuries to key players and we are fecked again.

Also much will depend on Rashford. If he keeps playing like he did last season after the injury I'm worried.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Think this is a bit of a stretch mate. You’ve basically written off all their signings just because they’re new signings, while using a squaddie signing VDB as justification for your point before finishing with “and if we add one or two more...”
Where did I write all their signings off? You read nothing if you think I only used VDB alone to justify my point. I suggested you should read the 50% of the post that you didn't quote.

If anything I acknowledge their effort of signings by saying that on paper their starting XI level our starting XI when we achieved 9 wins, 5 draws in 14 league games, scored 30 goals and conceded 7 goals since 1st February 2020.

That's lot of credit I'm giving it to their recruitment. What more do you want me to give? I'm not going to put their recruitment on the same level of Allison, Van Dijk, Trent, Robertson, Salah, Mane, De Bruyne, Aguero & Sterling now when they haven't even play half season.
 

SER19

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@Martial'sEmergingSmile did a good squad breakdown I think.

What's most frustrating about this window is that it feels like the simplest one to conquer since 2013. What I mean by that is that 2-3 quality additions that improve our options from bench would do it.

Out of interest Im comparing our squad as it is, with city's, who have the best depth.

Gk

United--De Gea, Henderson, Grant (romero will surely leave)

City- Ederson, Carson, Muric

No problems here.

Full Backs

United--
Wan Bissaka, Shaw, Williams, Dalot, Laird?

City- walker, zinchenko, mendy, cancelo

Excluding whatever central midfielder guardiola tries to play there, 4 decent full backs is essential. On paper we're not bad but fitness and inexperience an issue so for my money, we need a new full back

Central Defence

United-
Maguire, Lindelof, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Smalling, Rojo, Jones

City Otamendi, Ake, Laporte, Stones, Garcia

While we'd like to shed a couple of ours,and obviously should keep eye out for clear upgrade, I actually think are options are OK here, and would happily keep smalling as improved back up. City are still trying to rectify theirs with Koulibaly and while good on paper otamendi stones ake and garcia share limitations with some of our options.

Central Midfield including a 'number ten'

United -
Mctominay, Fred, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Van De Beek, (mata, lingard)

City- Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Foden, Fernandinho

I think centrally were as strong as anywhere in the league, though we need Fernandes to be as influential for us as de Bruyne is for city. I think this is a strong area for us and happy to see any combination of these players.

Forwards including wingers, outside forwards, whatever the preferred term

United- Rashford, Greenwood, Martial, Ighalo, James, Pereira

City- Bernardo Silva, Torres, Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero, Jesus

There's no comparison here. We have 3 quality players, 2 of which are very young and can't expect Aguero levels from. The options after them are dreadful. I think we need a new winger and probably a back up striker option.

Reassuringly the areas identified

Full back
Winger
Probably striker

Are widely known and these are the players we are linked with. Eg Reguilon, telles, sancho, King.

Following my op I think if we can add these couple of players we really are not as far off in squad terms as many think.
 

romufc

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Following my op I think if we can add these couple of players we really are not as far off in squad terms as many think.
This is the frustrating bit. We need a winger and a LB and our squad is actually good.

Then its all on Ole to get the best out of them.
 

Fosu-Mens

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Following my op I think if we can add these couple of players we really are not as far off in squad terms as many think.
On paper, not the biggest difference. What about the difference on the pitch? In the team's ability to break down a parked bus? Play out of a high press without making high risk actions? Having a style of play that is going to be succesfull long term?
 

SER19

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On paper, not the biggest difference. What about the difference on the pitch? In the team's ability to break down a parked bus? Play out of a high press without making high risk actions? Having a style of play that is going to be succesfull long term?
Of course, that would be the time to really judge how Ole is doing with a squad that should be competing. So far he's doing as well as can be with what he has, given the extent of injuries last season too.
 

Withnail

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@Martial'sEmergingSmile did a good squad breakdown I think.

What's most frustrating about this window is that it feels like the simplest one to conquer since 2013. What I mean by that is that 2-3 quality additions that improve our options from bench would do it.

Out of interest Im comparing our squad as it is, with city's, who have the best depth.

Gk

United--De Gea, Henderson, Grant (romero will surely leave)

City- Ederson, Carson, Muric

No problems here.

Full Backs

United--
Wan Bissaka, Shaw, Williams, Dalot, Laird?

City- walker, zinchenko, mendy, cancelo

Excluding whatever central midfielder guardiola tries to play there, 4 decent full backs is essential. On paper we're not bad but fitness and inexperience an issue so for my money, we need a new full back

Central Defence

United-
Maguire, Lindelof, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Smalling, Rojo, Jones

City Otamendi, Ake, Laporte, Stones, Garcia

While we'd like to shed a couple of ours,and obviously should keep eye out for clear upgrade, I actually think are options are OK here, and would happily keep smalling as improved back up. City are still trying to rectify theirs with Koulibaly and while good on paper otamendi stones ake and garcia share limitations with some of our options.

Central Midfield including a 'number ten'

United -
Mctominay, Fred, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Van De Beek, (mata, lingard)

City- Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Foden, Fernandinho

I think centrally were as strong as anywhere in the league, though we need Fernandes to be as influential for us as de Bruyne is for city. I think this is a strong area for us and happy to see any combination of these players.

Forwards including wingers, outside forwards, whatever the preferred term

United- Rashford, Greenwood, Martial, Ighalo, James, Pereira

City- Bernardo Silva, Torres, Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero, Jesus

There's no comparison here. We have 3 quality players, 2 of which are very young and can't expect Aguero levels from. The options after them are dreadful. I think we need a new winger and probably a back up striker option.

Reassuringly the areas identified

Full back
Winger
Probably striker

Are widely known and these are the players we are linked with. Eg Reguilon, telles, sancho, King.

Following my op I think if we can add these couple of players we really are not as far off in squad terms as many think.

We aren't that far off and I really don't get the doom and gloom merchants claiming we'll struggle to make top 4 with the squad as is.

We are starting the season with 3 quality midfielders more than we had for the majority of last season and the young players should kick on and improve on last year's performances.

Yes, we do need to strengthen but even if there are no more additions, there's every reason to believe we'll have a better season than last year.
 

Strelok

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We aren't that far off and I really don't get the doom and gloom merchants claiming we'll struggle to make top 4 with the squad as is.

We are starting the season with 3 quality midfielders more than we had for the majority of last season and the young players should kick on and improve on last year's performances.

Yes, we do need to strengthen but even if there are no more additions, there's every reason to believe we'll have a better season than last year.
Do you realise the difference between last season and this season?