Aug 9, 2017
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Three players to look out for at Manchester United this season

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Triumphs in the EFL Cup and the Europa League signalled a nice start to life at Manchester United for manager Jose Mourinho, but you feel now is the season where he wants to truly hit the big-time.

Big additions in Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic – poaching the latter from United’s direct rivals Chelsea – show the signs of intent heading into the new campaign this Sunday.

Mourinho will know that anything less than a sustained title challenge, and a vast improvement on last season’s sixth-place finish, will be catastrophic considering the world-class squad at his disposal.

With the Champions League returning to Old Trafford after a short absence there is certainly reason for nervous excitement in Manchester once again, with United well-equipped to challenge for trophies.

The Boot Room takes a look at three players who have potentially have big seasons ahead of them…

Romelu Lukaku

After scoring 30 plus goals across all competitions in his last two seasons at Everton it was always going to be a matter of time before one of Europe’s big boys swooped in and signed Romelu Lukaku.

Despite heavy interest from Chelsea it was Jose Mourinho’s side that secured the services of the Belgian in a £75 million move, and it will be all eyes on the 24-year-old this year to see if he delivers.

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Stepping into Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shoes in the number nine role, Lukaku’s ability to score with either foot or his head makes him so dangerous in the area and will almost guarantee goals this year.

During pre-season he’s already shown all of the attributes that he needs to become a hugely successful player at Old Trafford for years to come, displaying all of his power and strength to fashion chances for himself in the box, and he has already scored three goals before the season begins.

Naturally for a player still so young there’s areas to work on – not least after missing a sitter in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday – but given time, and given the support from midfield, he will be massive.

Anthony Martial

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has shown a lot of faith in Anthony Martial since his arrival last summer, and despite speculation of a loan move away to Inter Milan for the upcoming season – as per the Telegraph – the fact he has featured heavily in pre-season suggests he will stay.

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The 21-year-old may not have hit the dizzy heights expected of him when he joined from Monaco two years ago in a £36 million move, but there’s a feeling that this year could be the making of him.

Despite not fully firing last season he still managed four Premier League goals – the same tally as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and three more than Jesse Lingard – and he managed more assists (six) as well.

He has arguably been one of United’s stand-out players throughout pre-season preparations, dazzling against Real Madrid with a superb run and just generally playing with a lot more confidence.

If he can transform this into the Premier League, and if he is given a decent run of regular first-team football by Mourinho, then this could be the season where Martial’s career at the top level takes off.

Paul Pogba

The signing of defensive midfield powerhouse Nemanja Matic from Chelsea is one of the best and most astute signings of the summer window to date, and it will benefit United in a number of ways.

One of these is that it will bring out the best in Paul Pogba, United’s £89 million record signing last summer, as it will allow him a renewed sense of freedom to roam around the opposition territory.

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The 24-year-old French international has been widely criticised for his performances last year, despite playing the most minutes as United secured the Europa League trophy for the first time in the club’s history, but he couldn’t express himself fully due to the defensive duties that he had.

Yet, with the monumental figure of Matic sitting deep in the midfield, it now allows Pogba, along with Ander Herrera, to have an average position further up the pitch and the benefit will be clear.

It will allow Pogba to influence attacking play more, finding the pockets in between the opposition defence and midfield with more regularity, and it will allow him to build a strong rapport with Lukaku.

Everybody has seen just what Pogba can do during his time at Juventus – and even in glimpses at United last season – and expect him to be at the centre of a big push for the Premier League title.

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Manchester United · Player Analysis