It’s been a torrid start to the 2019/20 season for Manchester United, there’s no denying it. But the 1-all draw against Liverpool felt like a gear change in United’s season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign. That draw put a halt to Liverpool’s 17-game winning streak – we’re talking about a team that seemed otherwise unshakeable, so this could be a real significant shift.
However, just two wins from nine league games is virtually unheard of for United. Despite that vital point, this is actually the worst start to a season for the club in 33 years, and that was the 1986-87 in which manager Ron Atkinson was replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson. Since Solskjaer was named permanent boss at Old Trafford, United have recorded four wins, six draws and seven defeats – that’s just 18 points from 17 top-flight games.
If you’re into sports betting, though, a look at the Premier League odds actually shows that things aren’t as bleak as the bottom half league position suggests. United are still seventh favourites to finish in the top four come the end of the season. The side are behind Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Leicester in these odds, suggesting betting experts predict a change in fortunes.
A positive for the future of Manchester United is that Solskjaer has a clear passion for working towards long-term goals and bringing through the youngsters. The Manchester United squad is one of the youngest in the Premier League – on the opening weekend of the season, the average age of the squad was 24 years, 227 days which was the lowest in the whole league.
Earlier this month, the manager announced in a post-match interview after the goalless draw with AZ Alkmaar that the club can no longer ‘live in the 90’s’. This is a brand new era for the club, and while that may be, it’s going to be tough for many supporters who have historically experienced United as a consistent success.
What needs to be remembered is that exciting players such as Marcus Rashford and Daniel James are only 21-years-old. Of course, not all of these players in the group are going to become world-class, but Solskjaer has made a real commitment to ensuring the youth gets a chance to shine and grow.
A positive run in the Europa League would hopefully reignite confidence in these youngsters – a good run of form in the league would hopefully follow. Now the Liverpool fixture is behind us and with a result that not many could have hoped for in the current situation, the run of fixtures could be considered as favourable. In any other circumstances for Manchester United, the next few fixtures would almost guarantee points. However, only time will tell whether that point against Liverpool has helped something click at Old Trafford.