Erik ten Hag has perhaps not had the start to life at Manchester United as he’d like, and it’s fair to say that not all of the responsibility can lie at his own door. In fact, you might be inclined to say very little of it does.
Regardless of that, there’s still a desire on the terraces of Old Trafford to win trophies, and given the start to the season and the unrest at the club, from players to the powers that be, it’s going to be mightily difficult once again.
Last season, a third place finish, a run to the FA Cup Final and a League Cup win could certainly be considered a success. But every manager wants to progress, and every fan wants to see him do that.
Third place, currently looks a long way off after eight games, but trophies are still a possibility, and should ten Hag help United find their groove following the international break, a good run up until Christmas could leave them well balanced for all three they’re still in. But what are the actual chances of winning the trophies?
Well, that’s a bit of a mixed bag. The bookies haven’t got them favourites for any, and winning the Champions League would be a bit like winning the jackpot when playing online casino games – extremely rewarding, but very unlikely. But there’s definitely scope for a double, even during this poor spell for the club.
Ultimately, just like last season, the Carabao Cup provides United with a good chance of a trip to Wembley. They cruised past Crystal Palace in the last round but have been drawn against difficult opposition in Newcastle.
Like the Reds, Newcastle will be keen for silverware this season given the takeover at the club, and they could too have their eyes on a competition where first teamers from the top flight are often rested. What’s more, that game is just a few weeks away, so ten Hag will have to look to iron out wrinkles if he does want his side to progress.
The bookies are pricing them ahead of Newcastle, and the Reds do have the benefit of a home draw. At 4/1, United have the best price outside of Liverpool and Arsenal, and there is a good chance of going all the way.
The same applies to the FA Cup. It’s a competition United haven’t won since 2016, but enjoyed a run to the Final last term before that 2-1 defeat and going one better could well be the rescuing of a season.
They’re priced at 9/1 currently, but naturally it will all depend on the draw. However, ten Hag knows how to navigate knockout tournaments, having done so twice with Ajax and once with United, which could put them frontrunners should rivals City, Arsenal or Liverpool struggle, while also being able to beat all three on their day.
And ‘on their day’ it’ll have to be if they’re going to get anything from the Champions League. United sit bottom of the group currently, having lost two in two, albeit close fought encounters. Progression into the knockout phase is going to take some turnaround, but it isn’t impossible.
Victories in the next two games against Copenhagen is a must, while it’s likely they’ll need to take points from Galatasaray in Istanbul too. Transfer into the Europa League could be on the cards, from there, where the Old Trafford outfit could go in as one of the favourites to bring a trophy home this season.