As we approach the start of the 2019/20 campaign, Manchester United fans are probably feeling slightly more optimistic than they were at the end of last season - although that’s not saying much.
The Red Devils were dismal during the final weeks of the previous campaign, failing to win any of their final six fixtures.
They finished sixth in the Premier League table, meaning Europa League rather than Champions League football next season, and fans could have counted the number of players they wanted to keep at Old Trafford on the fingers of one hand.
United supporters expected a total squad revamp this summer but, with just over a month remaining before the summer transfer window closes, that hasn’t really happened.
Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have come in for a combined £65 million, while Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera have departed after their contracts expired. But so far, that’s it.
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We booted up Football Manager earlier this week to find out what Man Utd’s starting XI might look like at the end of the window.
Just ignore the inclusion of Tanguy Ndombele, who recently completed a big-money move to Tottenham.
We then simulated the entire 2019/20 season to find out whether United’s fortunes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are about to change.
The results were surprising.
United ended up finishing second in the Premier League table - yes, second! - missing out on their first title since 2013 in the most agonising of circumstances.
Man City took top spot by virtue of their superior goal difference after they finished on the exact same number of points.
Alexis Sanchez was United’s Player of the Season, scoring 18 league goals and picking up seven Man of the Match awards over the course of the campaign. If only, eh?
Only Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted more.
Jesse Lingard registered the most assists for United with seven.
Solskjaer’s men also enjoyed a decent run in the Europa League and the FA Cup.
They went to the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they were knocked out by Barcelona. Luis Suarez scored the only goal of the game in that one.
They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup but lost 2-0 to Wolves at Wembley.
Their Carabao Cup journey ended in the third round at the Etihad Stadium.
The tie went to a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw but it was Pep Guardiola’s side who prevailed.
No silverware, then, but a second-place finish in the league and a respectable run in two of the three cup competitions is far from a terrible campaign.
In fact, if you offered that to Solskjaer right now, he’d probably take it.News Now - Sport News