After missing out on a place in the top four of the top flight at the end of the 2013/14 season for the first time since the 1990/91 season the last campaign saw the appointment of Dutch manager Louis van Gaal in an attempt to restore the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford. Fourth place and a return to the Champions League saw the first steps taken towards a 21st top flight title, but can the Dutchman put the final pieces of the jigsaw together?
Following the seventh placed finish under David Moyes two seasons ago United looked to bounce back to challenge for titles straight away in the 2014/15 campaign as they appointed former Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal. However, with just one win in their first five matches and an early exit from the Capital One Cup to League One MK Dons things did not start well. However, van Gaal got things turned around quickly as he found his feet in English football as between the end of September and the middle January the side lost just a single game and they were right in the title race until near the end of the season as they continued to secure victories, even if they were not the most convincing of performances. However, just a single win in their final six matches saw them slump to finish fourth and 17 points behind title winners Chelsea. Can they be more consistent this season to remain in the title race going into the final days of the season?
2015/16 EPL Preview:
A second season under the same manager will be a massive benefit to the club for this coming season and the fact that van Gaal has already heavily invested in new players for the upcoming season will also bring a massive amount of confidence and belief to the fans. The club has already brought in some superstar players and if they can hold onto their biggest and best players, such as David de Gea who has attracted interest from Real Madrid, then this season could see a return to form and a 21st top flight title for the side who have the most Premier League titles to their name.
Ins and Outs:
Memphis Depay – Louis van Gaal has invested in youth as he has spent £21.5m on the 21 year old winger, who can also play at wing forward, who has scored 50 goals in 124 appearances for PSV since breaking into the first team in 2011. Despite being so young he has already received 17 caps for the Netherlands, with van Gaal giving him his break, and he has bagged three goals already too. He will boost the limited attacking options at the club following the end of Falcao’s loan and the exits of Robin van Persie and Nani.
Matteo Darmian – United have also boosted their defence with the expenditure of £12.7m on the 25 year old Italian. Darmian began his career at centre back, but has moved his game onto becoming a full back that can play either left or right of the defensive four. His preference is to play on the right side and he has shown that he is a capable attacking player too with five goals in all competitions last season with Torino. He has played almost 200 games in Italy for AC Milan, Palermo and Torino as well as picking up 13 caps for Italy and he’ll be another massive boost for the club.
Bastian Schweinsteiger – Manchester United have signed a certified legend of the game in Schweinsteiger as he moves from Bayern Munich, where he has spent his entire career, for almost £15m on a three year deal. He has played more than 500 games of domestic football, scored 69 times and won more than 25 titles, including eight Bundesliga crowns and the 2012/13 Champions League. He has been capped 111 times by Germany and he has bagged 23 goals as he guided them to the 2014 World Cup as well as the semi final stages in 2006 and 2010 as well as the final four of the European Championships in 2008 and 2012. He may not be the biggest priced move of the summer, but the German could certainly swing the title race for the side from the red half of Manchester.
Morgan Schneiderlin – The final of four signings made by United so far is the capture of the 25 year old French midfielder from Southampton who leaves after seven seasons and more than 250 appearances for the South coast club. He moves to the 20 time champions for £25m on a four year deal as he looks to continue his excellent reputation as one of the top midfielders in the EPL, and he will get ample opportunity to do so at Old Trafford. Can he bring some silverware back to the club in his first season though?
The biggest names exiting Old Trafford this summer are striker Robin van Persie and Portuguese winger Nani with both players having moved to Turkey with Fenerbahçe as they are no longer in favour at the Manchester club. A number of youth and fringe players who had not made the grade have also been released, with Tom Cleverly who spent time on loan at Aston Villa the biggest name from this list, while up and coming talent Will Keane has been loaned out for the season to Championship newcomers Preston North End.
Man United EPL Preview Bets:
With United buying well and having continuity for this coming season online bookmaker Unibet.com that Louis van Gaal’s side will do at least as well as last season’s fourth place finish if not move further up the table.
United can be backed at odds of 6.00 to win the Premier League this season, with only Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal ahead of them, while they are available @ 1.72 in the Unibet Sportsbook to secure a top three finish in the Premier League table. Both of these provide plenty of value and if they can add another top class striker to the side over the summer, as well as keep hold of their key players already in the team, then United could very well be overpriced to win the league title this season.
However, a 17 point deficit will be difficult to make up over the course of a single season and while we are tempted to back United to win the title this bet will be our smaller of the two as we can see them certainly making progression this season and our top pick for Manchester United over the 2015/16 season is for them to finish in the top three of the league at 1.72 with Unibet.com.