Manchester United have regrouped under Erik ten Hag in the 2022/23 season, returning to the top four of the Premier League after a dramatic decline in the last campaign that saw the club tumble out of the Champions League places. United are on course to return to the Champions League, although a challenge for the Premier League crown is still well off in the distance. Ten Hag has improved matters on the field, even from the United sides that finished second under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Even though those United teams finished higher in the table than Ten Hag’s men will this season, there is a real optimism surrounding the club that was not present under the Portuguese and the Norwegian. There could be cause for backing United next season to make their move back to the top and there are offers available through OddsChecker to use for the 2023/24 Premier League season, but there is still plenty of work ahead of United to catch Manchester City and even Arsenal at the top. Liverpool will be desperate to return to the top, while Chelsea could be reinvigorated by a new manager. Newcastle United and Aston Villa are the new kids on the block and will be desperate to capitalise on their rapid rise.
Ten Hag has made simple but effective tweaks to his team, but there is a sizable gap between them and Manchester City. Erling Haaland’s brilliance has made the already formidable City line-up seem somewhat unbeatable. Pep Guardiola and his team show no sign of slowing down, although there could be a natural turnover in their squad over the summer with Bernardo Silva among others eyeing an exit after a decent tenure at the Etihad Stadium. The time could be right for United to strike, and Ten Hag has done a solid job of laying foundations for further signings in the summer.
After years of cycling through centre-backs, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have formed a solid partnership outside of United’s 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool. Christian Eriksen and Casemiro offer experience at the base of the midfield, while Jadon Sancho, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are an exciting yet frustrating forward line. All four players are extremely impressive on their day, none more so than Rashford, who has performed incredibly bouncing back from a couple of difficult years. He now looks ready to take on the mantle in the final third for the foreseeable future.
Ten Hag made the tough choice to expel Cristiano Ronaldo, which seems to have done wonders for the team spirit, especially for the forward line. The task now is for Sancho and Antony, and potentially rising stars such as Alejandro Garnacho and Amad Diallo to develop the consistency and follow Rashford and Fernandes in becoming standouts.
One area where United could make up ground on City would be to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham. Given Spurs’ issues and uncertainty over their future, Kane might be looking to move on from the club after 10 years of first-time service, becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. Given that he cannot win trophies at Tottenham, the 29-year-old may feel that it is time to leave and sign for a club capable of pushing for the title, domestic crowns and potentially the Champions League. Kane would give United a focal point, not named Wout Weghorst in the final third.
Weghorst is not a goalscorer in the mould of Kane, and although he has worked hard, the England captain would be a monumental upgrade at the position. It will not be cheap and a move could hinge whether United are taken over by a new investor in the summer. But, with Kane leading the line, supported by Rashford, Antony, Sancho and Fernandes, United would have potent attacking line capable of matching City in front of goal. With the foundation built by Ten Hag, it could be the move that allows the club to at least challenge their rivals like Arsenal and Liverpool have done in recent seasons.