Manchester United are justifying their tag as one of the favourites for the Premier League title. The Reds are still unbeaten, having dropped only two points in their first seven outings, and are locked with fierce rivals Manchester City at the top of the table.
With their Champions League campaign having also got off to a flying start, the omens look good for Jose Mourinho’s charges. Here are five reasons why United supporters can look forward to the rest of the season with relish.
Romelu Lukaku’s predatory instinct
Jose Mourinho had identified the Belgian striker as his top transfer target last summer and managed to snare him from the clutches of reigning champions Chelsea. Even by today’s standards the fee of £75 million that United paid Everton was steep, but Lukaku has already begun to repay it.
He has netted 10 times for United in all competitions this season, at a goal every 81 minutes, and looks certain to challenge the likes of Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero for the Golden Boot. Lukaku has provided the ruthlessness in front of goal that United lacked at times last season.
Solid defence underpins attacking riches
As well as averaging three goals per game in the Premier League, United are also boasting the joint meanest defence. David de Gea has kept six clean sheets from seven games, with the only goals he has conceded coming in the 2-2 draw away to Stoke City.
With a solid back four in front of him, which includes a rejuvenated Phil Jones, United look extremely reliable at the back. All the riches they have in attack would count for nothing if they were regularly shipping goals. Mourinho’s most successful teams have been built on solid foundations and he has a trustworthy back line at his disposal.
Inconsistent home form has been banished
United’s record at Old Trafford last season was arguably the reason they finished sixth. Among their results at home were draws against the likes of Swansea City, Burnley, Bournemouth and Hull City. Although it is still early days, United appear to have returned to their dominant best at the Theatre of Dreams. Four games in, they still have a perfect record.
The manner of their victories has been impressive, too. Three have been by a four-goal margin. Whereas last season they struggled to put games to bed, now they are steamrolling the opposition in merciless fashion.
Jose Mourinho has regained his aura
At times last season, the Portuguese looked disinterested. Despite having always coveted the United hot-seat, Mourinho did not appear to be enjoying his first season in charge. The pressure of managing on of the biggest clubs in the world seemed to be getting to him.
But victory in the Europa League final ensured that United would be playing Champions League football, and since then his demeanour has vastly improved. Looking relaxed and assured, the old Mourinho is back and his reputation, which took a hit at Chelsea, has been restored. This can only be a good sign for United supporters.
Marcus Rashford’s unlimited potential
One of the brightest young prospects in English football, Rashford has established himself this season. Holding down a place in the United starting XI is no mean feat, but the 19-year-old has achieved that through the high standard of his performances. Providing goals and assists, Rashford has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months.
Now an England regular, the versatile youngster is a real fans’ favourite. The United faithful like nothing more than cheering on one of their own and in Rashford, who was born in Manchester, they have a new cult hero to worship.