Home → Elite → Football → Performance Analysis Football Performance Analysis What to Expect From a Reinvigorated Man United in the Next Premier League Season 09 Aug, 2021 7 Min Read By Edward Stratmann @EdwardStratmann With the Premier League kicking off this weekend, all the signs are there that Man Utd should be able to challenge for honors on all fronts. Let’s see how. Manchester United have made a real statement of intent that they're ready to challenge for titles both domestically and in Europe by signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane. Spending a whopping £73 million to bring in Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, £41 million to secure Varane from Real Madrid, and £13 million to bring back Ronaldo from Juventus, this trio should take them to the next level. Proven performers at the highest level, these bonafide stars should all be immediate starters and add that extra quality in key positions that United wanted improvement in. Welcome home, @Cristiano #MUFC | #Ronaldo— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 27, 2021 Former United captain and now renowned pundit, Gary Neville, expressed his delight at the aforementioned acquisitions. "I think Varane is really exciting. Sancho’s exciting but it was almost inevitable that was going to happen," he told Sky Sports. "They needed to fill that right-wing spot. It’s been a bit of a problem for the last year or two. I think demonstrating patience and getting him, to be fair, was a bit more measured. "United have become a bit more measured in this last two or three years. I think Ole has brought that to the club, they’re not getting players for the sake of it. Varane is exciting and I think last season, every United fan, every commentator, pundit, fan and analyst watched United said, "They need a partner for Harry Maguire”, and they’ve got one." He then added his opinion on Ronaldo's return: "Ronaldo will be coming to win trophies, personal accolades, set the Premier League on fire. It is a different Ronaldo, everyone expected that."He is a number nine, someone who still has that burst over short distances, he makes great runs inside the box, has anticipation of where the ball's going to drop, and he gives United something they need. What they've done is bolster the squad with a proven goalscorer, a club legend, and it's going to give them an incredible 12 months." Ronaldo will be coming to win trophies, personal accolades, set the Premier League on fire. It is a different Ronaldo, everyone expected that. Gary Neville - TV pundit and former Manchester United player. Set to fit in perfectly to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's preferred 4-2-3-1 shape, which all three are extremely familiar playing within, the star triumvirate will be eager to hit the ground running. It's important to note that Solskjaer's been tactically adaptable and opted for different systems, such as a 4-4-2 diamond, a 4-3-3 or and 3-4-2-1, which he can use depending on the situation or the opponent. The addition of Varane is a huge boost defensively, giving Harry Maguire a truly world-class central defensive partner, which will enable United to play a bit higher up the pitch due to the Frenchman's fine reading of the play and pace. Conceding 44 goals in last year's Premier League (the sixth-best), allowing their opponents to take 10.09 shots per 90 (ninth-best), having a defensive duel win percentage of 58.30% (14th best), giving up 11 headed goals (joint fourth worst) and having a PPDA of 12.22 (eighth highest), United recognized there was a need for improvement in this area. EPL goals conceded statistics from last season. Excellent at responding to pressing triggers when his man drops with their back to goal, Varane should help United suffocate opponents during build-up, which should increase their success when pressing high to condense the pitch. The fact he's strong in duels on the ground and in the air, plus is alert to runners in behind, amplifies his worth. Varane will also give United valuable experience and leadership at the back, as the World Cup champion and four-time Champions League winner should be a calming presence and assist his colleagues in terms of organization and positioning. Varane's radar from last season To focus on United's high pressing, and they showed they were competent in this regard many times last campaign. Often coordinating their harrying to usher opponents wide to use the touchline as an extra defender, they'd then shift across and cut off inside access to hem in their foes. Suffocating high press. How they'd press using their cover shadows to screen passing lanes behind them was a positive too, and one that enhanced their effectiveness. Coordinated press to hem in Chelsea and use of cover shadows. Shifting the focus to the Red Devils' offensive plans, and Sancho will add another layer of unpredictability and dynamism to their efforts here. Very familiar with executing opposite movements and interchanging positions with his fellow attackers and fullbacks from his time at Borussia Dortmund and playing for England, Sancho should slot in perfectly to Solskjaer's attacking framework. Seeing as United are a team that are experts at taking advantage of the weaknesses of their adversaries, just like Sancho is, he should thrive at United both during slower methodical build-up and in counter-attacking sequences. Such a genius with the ball at his feet, the way he can beat opponents at will, thread through balls to teammates, draw multiple defenders to then find a free man, surge in behind and is a proficient goalscorer, raises United's menace in the final third. Sancho's radar from last season. Considering Solskjaer's team mix having possession with being content to sit back and exploit teams in transition, Sancho will certainly have many opportunities to impact matches in varying ways. Having the second-best attack in the Premier League last season with 73 goals scored, they supplemented this by ranking second for progressive runs (19.77 p90), fifth for shots (12.02 p90), seventh for dribbles (26.5 p90), eighth for touches inside the box (19.18 p90), fourth for through balls (9.58 p90) and fifth for progressive passes (69.23 p90). EPL xG, Goals and xG per shot rankings from last season. With this in mind, the addition of Sancho will transform them into an even more lethal force going forward. Joining a frontline that already consists of Bruno Fernandes, Marcos Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba (depending on where he plays) and now Ronaldo, Sancho adds another tremendous option to the list. Set to wreak havoc individually and when collectively dovetailing with his teammates, the arrival of Sancho gives them another dimension, which will definitely be a game-changer for them. Ronaldo's dramatic, showstopping arrival is the cherry on top for United, which could tip the scales in terms of their chase for titles this campaign. Immensely experienced and a proven goalscorer over a prolonged period, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is assured of finding the back of the net and wreaking havoc on defenses all over.His masterful second debut against Newcastle United, where he bagged a slick brace, was a perfect encapsulation of what he brings to the team. Aside from using his deadly finishing skills and poaching instincts for his goals, his intelligent movement and dovetailing with his colleagues were a huge highlight. Ronaldo's amazing anticipation and reaction to score his opener. Wicked finish for his second, as he finishes on his left with power despite being unbalanced under pressure. Choosing his moments wisely when to drop deep to link play, surge in behind between defenders, or peel off the back shoulder of his man to embark on blindside runs, his prowess here was great to see. Brilliantly timed run in behind ahead of his second goal. In addition, knowing Newcastle would always have at least one defender occupying him, how he drew out markers to generate room for others was very positive indeed, with this consistently disorganizing Newcastle's backline to produce viable openings. Smartly drawing his man to create space for Bruno Fernandes to attack. The way he smoothly slotted into United's fluid frontline was a further positive, for he executed some nifty rotations with his comrades which saw him pop up all over the final third. In doing so, the Magpies struggled to settle into a pattern of how to deal with United's offensive quartet, as they were frequently caught in two minds on who to track who in what zone. While he favored central areas and the left, his heat map below indicates his movement all over, which he'll continue to fine-tune as he builds relationships with his teammates. Ronaldo's Heat Map vs. Newcastle United. His work on the ball punctuated his promising body of work, for he engaged in some crafty passing exchanges, showcased his classy ball handling under pressure and powerful dribbling when given room. Upon looking at his statistics, they underline what an uplifting game he enjoyed, as he had eight touches inside the penalty area, six shots, five dribbles, one shot assist, and completed 42 of his 46 attempted passes.While there's no doubting the quality Varane, Ronaldo and Sancho bring to the squad, Solskjaer's main concern will be integrating them into the squad quickly, which is a process that so far looks to be going nicely.With the Premier League now four matches in and his new recruits all obtaining valuable minutes, all the signs are there that when they're fully assimilated, they'll elevate Man Utd into a truly elite outfit. And one that should unquestionably be able to challenge for honors on all fronts. 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