There is no doubting the fact that Erik ten Hag has reinstalled some dignity at Manchester United. The former Ajax manager has transformed the Red Devils from a team bearing the look of an incoming collapse into a side on course to finish in the Champions League places. But should they be aiming higher?
With Manchester City struggling to maintain consistency similar to previous years and an inexperienced Arsenal side when it comes to such title races, why shouldn’t a reinvigorated Manchester United side be vying for their first Premier League title since 2013?
Rashford taking United to the next level
When Cristiano Ronaldo mutually terminated his Manchester United contract in November, the main question many would have been asking is who’s left to lead the line at Old Trafford. Suddenly without a main man, the World Cup break left Ten Hag with a problem to solve. And with that problem, up stepped Marcus Rashford to become the solution.
A year ago, the thought of Rashford starring brighter than ever at Manchester United would have been an impossible thought. With the England forward in such good form, too, the Red Devils have started to close the gap on Manchester City and Arsenal in the Premier League title race.
City, in particular, could become distracted by the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s side currently have Champions League betting odds of 2/1 to win the trophy for the first time ever this season. The idea of winning their first-ever Champions League trophy could set City off course when it comes to the title race, allowing Manchester United to come swooping in.
Casemiro: One of the signings of the season?
On the outside looking in, spending £70 million on a 31-year-old defensive midfielder may not suggest great planning for the future. But when that defensive midfielder is a Champions League winner on multiple occasions, then this can be chalked down as one of the signings of the season.
Manchester United have needed a player with the ability to put out endless fires in midfield for a long time. It’s only now under Ten Hag that they’ve got that very player, and what a difference it’s made, too. Casemiro has been the glue to stick every ounce of quality together, which has seen United take their biggest step yet towards returning to their mighty best.
Manchester United must only get better
It’s good to acknowledge Ten Hag’s work since taking over Manchester United, but it’s perhaps even more important to remember that this is only the start. We’ve seen the likes of Jose Mourinho start projects at Old Trafford, before struggling and eventually falling short.
Ten Hag’s reign must not eventually become tarnished with that same disastrous brush. He must finally be the one to welcome United into the modern day Premier League which we see week in, week out. The likes of Rashford can only get better and better, too, which should only be a good sign for the Red Devils. Everything is pointing towards unlimited improvement at Old Trafford for the first time in a decade.