Can United Return to the Top?

Jake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016

Manchester United are a very different team than they were at the start of the transfer window but can they now put together a credible challenge for the title? With the pressure on, Louis Van Gaal faces the same fate that befell David Moyes, so ahead of the weekend’s action we take a look at some of the big issues facing United.

A lot of expectation rests on the shoulders of new arrivals Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Angel di Maria as the team face Queens Park Rangers on Sunday. On paper the fixture should be a walk in the park for United but, after an embarrassing loss to MK Dons just a few weeks ago, the question becomes: will the fresh talent on the pitch be enough to deliver better results?

United coach Nicky Butt commented on the £150 million transfer spend, “It’s a case of getting the club back to where it needs to be. They’ve brought a manager who’s a proven winner. He’s signed a three-year deal and he’s going to be here for that length of time and get the club where it needs to be – winning.”

There is now an enormous amount of talent at Old Trafford and Van Gaal is more than experienced enough to make something of that. The season may only be three weeks in but United needs to force a change in its fortunes immediately if they want to give the top teams a run for their money this season.

One of Van Gaal’s strengths as a manager is knowing how to utilise his team. Fans have voiced concerns that the new signings will oust perfectly good players, such as Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj, from their positions, but they needn’t worry. The experienced manager knows that it takes a whole squad to win the team, not just eleven players. It’s this approach that helped him take Netherlands to the semi-finals in this year’s World Cup.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho who has worked with Van Gaal at Barcelona and looks up to the Red Devils boss has announced his confidence in the Dutchman’s ability to turn it around for United.

“He is one of the best managers in the world so I think he is a man with great experience for the job,” he said. “Manchester United is a big team [and] he is a big manager so I think they will do well together.”

With Falcao, Blind and Rojo expected to debut for United this weekend alongside Angel di Maria who made his first appearance two weeks ago, QPR could be facing a new and arguably more formidable side.

QPR have only scored once so far this season but they currently stand at twelfth in the table, ahead of United. With deadline day signings Sandro and Kranjcar adding to another eight new players at Loftus Road, Harry Redknapp’s side could prove rather unpredictable.

Rangers will need to focus on getting some early goals in as defending against United’s potential front line of Rooney, Van Persie and Falcao will be a serious endurance challenge.

Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers Betting

United are odds on to win at home this Sunday at 2/7 whilst QPR still have a decent long shot at winning, priced at 10/1 at Paddy Power.