Football

Manchester United set for Premier League title challenge

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I know you've heard it all before. Throughout the past couple of years, Manchester United have been overestimated and have never seemed to quite live up to pre-season promise. Last year, for example, wins against Liverpool, Roma and Real Madrid seemed to elevate United supporters to a level of exuberance and enthusiasm and each new signing brought a new sprinkle of hope to fans of the former champions.

This year, though, to the joy of die-hard Reds, could be different...with strong signings in defence and midfield, and with a new attacker likely to follow, this really could be Louis van Gaal's chance to show just what his side are made of.

With Arsenal remaining relatively stagnant, Liverpool gaining the likes of Benteke and Clyne, but losing their star man in Raheem Sterling and Chelsea aiming for consolidation rather than innovation, Manchester City are the only side growing at United's rate.

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Last season's signings began to show promise towards the end of the campaign, and if Van Gaal can get super flop Di Maria back to his best there is a real chance that the Red Devils could challenge not just the top four, but for the title itself.

He may not be young or fresh, but Bayern hero Bastian Schweinsteiger could offer the Dutch manager the consistency and experience the team so often lacked last season. New boy Memphis Depay will provide depth out wide and encourage his former international manager to use the flanks more, perhaps allowing Di Maria to return to the position he performed best in last season.

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Just how far can they go?

There is a chance, without a doubt, that United could propose a title challenge so credible this year that fans may even forget the abhorrent defeats of previous seasons.

If the team can settle in pre-season, and if big players are played in their strongest positions, then there is no doubt that Van Gaal's side can challenge the likes of City and Chelsea, who have dominated the last two seasons.

Consistency will without doubt be key to the United manager, who despite seeing his team put in big performances, has also seen them lose embarrassingly to Leicester and even MK Dons. With a solid campaign and a few more strong signings, the sky is the limit as to just how far the Red Devils can rise this season. 

With the correct formation and team selection United could have some breathing space to experiment with Schweinsteiger being able to partner any combination of Mata, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Blind, Di Maria and many more. This flexibility is exactly what Van Gaal and will put the right kind of pressure upon their top players to perform. 

This season may well be United's chance to silence their critics and take back the trophy they have lifted so many times before...

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Topics:
Manchester United
Premier League
Football

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