Last season’s second place was Manchester United’s best finish in the post Ferguson era but will they go one better next season? Mourinho’s entering his third season as manager and he’s brought in some new talent to the ranks.
Mourinho is expected to start the season similar to last year in a 4-3-3 formation, with the exception of some key players. 12 of his squad took part during the World Cup in Russia. These include Rojo, Matic, De Gea, Lindelof, and Fred. Meanwhile Fellaini, Lukaku, Jones, Young, Lingard, Rashford and Pogba all lasted till the final two days of the tournament and look certain to miss the start of the season.
Considering their recent transfer activity, Diogo Dalot (£5.5m) has arrived from Porto and looks to be a potential predecessor to Antonio Valencia who has been given the captain’s armband this season. Dalot is currently out of action till September but won’t be pushing the first team just yet, unless injuries occur.
United have bolstered the midfield with the signing of the Brazilian, Fred (£6.0m) from Shakhtar Donetsk. He looks nailed in the side at the heart of midfield but I don’t see him being a major FPL asset. He’s a player to keep your eye on as he’s new to the league but don’t expect him to be banging in the goals as he will potentially sit deep.
The rather surprising signing of Lee Grant from Stoke adds depth to the goalkeeper spot. Unless there’s a goalkeeper injury crisis, I don’t expect to see him feature in the league.
STAR MAN – David De Gea (£6.0m)
It was a tricky decision to choose a star man but due to shear value compared to the rest of the squad, this man deserves this spot.
David received a £0.5m price bump and is now out on his own as the most expensive keeper in FPL and it’s understandable why. He’s the cheapest nailed starter in the United defence with only Valencia (£6.5m) being nailed along with Smalling (£6.0m) being close after he was favoured at the end of last season.
He’s a perfect “set and forget” option after missing only one game in the whole of last season. United’s number 1 picked up 18 clean sheets last season, just under 1 in every 2 games! Along with the clean sheet points he managed 115 saves. This total is the highest he’s ever managed with his average being at 95 saves a season, so his saves may regress slightly. Not only is he facing a lot of shots, but most importantly, he’s saving them! He’s earned the highest save percentage in the league, saving 82% of shots he’s faced. Impressive.
HIDDEN GEM – Paul Pogba (£8.0m)
He may not be the most hidden but after a mediocre previous season, I expect him to do much better. Fresh off the back of winning the World Cup, the Frenchman is going to be full of confidence heading into the season. The addition of Fred to the side may give Pogba opportunity to roam forward and have more freedom in the team, allowing him to express his quality.
Pogba only managed to play 27 games last season due to injury and suspension. However, that didn’t stop him from having the 7th most attempts (76) in the league out of all the midfielders. Although only 30 of those were from inside the box, he managed to get a chance just over every 28 minutes. If he’s able to match that this season, he’s bound to get more than 6 goals.
Pogba also bagged himself 13 assists last season, which was the joint 4th highest in the league. He created a chance every 55 minutes compared to De Bruyne’s every 29 minutes but I expect that to improve this season if he’s given more freedom.
BARGAIN – Eric Bailly (£5.5m)
There’s not many standouts in value in Manchester United’s assets unless you look to the short term. Thinking more longer term, this could be Eric Bailly’s season where he nails down a centre back spot.
The Ivorian only managed 11 starts in last season’s campaign due to an ongoing ankle injury. In the few games he played he picked up 7 clean sheets and netted a single goal. His pace and strength makes him stand out compared to his teammates and despite not looking the most comfortable on the ball, he gets the job done.
With a chance to impress after having the summer off, Bailly has the chance to make the centre back spot his own. Speculation on whether or not a new centre back may be signed is the only issue I can see with Bailly but in my opinion he should play week in week out. For an extra £0.5m on Luke Shaw, it should be well worth it in the long run.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Valencia – Bailly – Smalling – Shaw
Matic – Herrera – Fred
Mata – Sanchez – Martial
Written by FPL Junior (@FPL_Junior)