Manchester United, along with closest rivals Manchester City, are favourites to win the Premier League. Jose Mourinho wants to win everything in his first season in charge as he aims to be the first manager to win the Premier League title for United since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. Below are five players that can make all the difference in Manchester United’s bid for the title.
In his first spell at the club, Paul Pogba made seven substitute appearances and then moved to Juventus for £1.5m. Four year later, Pogba is back at Manchester United as the most expensive player in the world after resigning for a world-record £89m. Pogba is extremely talented, but there is room for improvement and it is debatable whether he is worth £89m. Regardless of the astronomical fee, 23-year-old Pogba has won four consecutive Serie A titles and his experience will be vital as Manchester United aim to win their first Premier League title since 2013. The Frenchman can play as a holding midfielder like he did for French at Euro 2016, but he feels that his best position is higher up the pitch playing on his left. Once he gets into his stride, Paul Pogba will be able to use his immense pace and power to wreak havoc among the league’s most experienced defenders. Be prepared to see plenty of dabbing from him and Jesse Lingard in the coming months.
Three goals in two Premier League appearances shows that Zlatan Ibrahimovic means business. He has not come to England to pass time, he wants to win and continue his remarkable record of winning a trophy every season of his career since 2001. He has already done this at United by winning (and scoring in) the Community Shield but the big prize on offer is the Premier League title. Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent out a statement of intent by scoring on his debut against Bournemouth. In United’s second Premier League match of the season, he scored both goals as Man United defeated Southampton 2-0 and won the Man-of-the-Match award for his commanding performance. At 34, Zlatan may not be able run as fast as his younger teammates, but his aerial ability and superstar qualities are going to make all the difference. If Zlatan scores against Hull this weekend he will equal a 91-year-old record, set by Jimmy Hanson in 1925, of scoring in his first four appearances for Manchester United. That really would be something special.
Anthony Martial became the most expensive teenager in world football when he signed for Manchester United on deadline day in last season’s summer transfer window. Even though United finished outside the top four (fifth), Martial had a successful debut season, finishing as the club’s top scorer with 11 goals from 31 Premier League appearances. He has started both Premier League games for United this season, and even though the French striker has been stripped of the No9 shirt to No11 so that Zlatan can be the main man, he could form a partnership with Zlatan which will benefit Man United and enable Martial to learn from one of the best centre-forwards in the world.
The young English defender was greatly missed by Manchester United when he suffered a horrific injury after a promising start to last season. Shaw struggled during his first season at the club, making just 16 Premier League appearances, and was injured for the majority of his second. If his third season is relatively stress free and without serious injury, Luke Shaw could establish himself at left-back as a key player for Manchester United and even earn a recall to the England squad. The 21-year-old won the penalty in United’s game against Southampton and is growing in confidence with every game. He’s destined for great success.
Jose Mourinho’s first signing as Manchester United manager, Eric Bailly, has been nothing short of fantastic so far. The Ivorian centre-back is cool, calm and collected and his solid performances are keeping Chris Smalling out of the side. Bailly has already won two consecutive Man-of-the-Match awards and he seems to be adjusting to life in the Premier League with minimal fuss. He has made a big impact so far and his pace, physical presence and technical ability will definitely be missed when he heads off to represent his country during the Africa Cup of Nations in January.