After what has simultaneously felt like the fastest and slowest International break of all time, the Premier League returns this weekend and it’s crunch time for Manchester United.
The International break came at the perfect time for Manchester United and their fans. After crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-final in what was a dire performance against Leicester almost 2 weeks ago, it appeared Manchester United were struggling with a bad case of tired legs, tired mind.
Though the players looked like they needed nothing less than a two-week break altogether, 13 players from United’s current squad were called up to play for their countries – and it’s safe to say there were some impressive and exciting performances across the board. With Harry Maguire, Donny Van de Beek and Dan James asserting their names on the score sheet and Anthony Martial providing an assist in a moment of brilliance, we can only hope that those players, alongside the rest of the team, resume their sprightful form as the Premier League returns for the final segment of the season.
The past two weeks have been jam-packed with transfer rumours surrounding Paul Pogba, Dean Henderson and Eric Bailly’s futures at the club, Ole’s brand-new £9million contract, speculation about Erling Haaland joining United (or Barcelona, Chelsea, Man City and Real Madrid) in the summer, Jesse Lingard – will he stay or will he go and the annual Harry Kane rumour – all of which Solskjaer has neither confirmed nor denied (obviously). Instead, his focus is solely placed on finishing the rest of this season on a high, by *hopefully* solidifying 2nd place and lifting the Europa League trophy.
But how will the end of the season pan out?
The rest of the season could be impacted by the performance in the opening two games after the break. A slow start against Brighton and Tottenham in the league, could cost us and result in another battle for the top 4 and Champions League football. Alongside that, our Europa League tie against Granada could prove to be trickier than expected as we tend to perform worse against teams of lower quality – though, I still believe we’ll have no problems getting through to the semi-finals.
I think, come the end of the season, the Top 4 will look like this:
1 Man City
2 Man United
(Though, I would quite enjoy seeing West Ham take fourth position)
Whilst the race for top 4 will be one that is determined on the final day of the league, I imagine the relegation battle will pan out similarly. Here are my predictions for the bottom 3 and the teams who will be crashing down to the Championship next season (in descending order):
2 West Brom
3 Sheffield United
Amongst all of this, the tail end of the season will hopefully bring one very important thing – fans back into the stadium. The fans have missed being in the stadiums equally as much as the stadiums have missed the presence of the fans – and I can’t wait to see how the Old Trafford atmosphere impacts the performance of the team.
Let’s hope for a positive and energetic re-start to the Premier League and an even better conclusion to the whole season. With only 7 weeks left to go, it really is all to play for…
What are your predictions for the rest of the season? Let me know in the comments.