The season concluded and saw Chelsea as the rightful Champion. Leicester City fell from grace but they managed to save their season after they sacked Ranieri and for the first time ever in 20 years Arsenal will not play in the Champions League next season. This was, of course, made possible thanks to Liverpool and their victory in the final game of the season, What about United? Well, Inconsistency is the perfect definition for them this campaign.
They began their season winning the community shield and day viewing the best signing of the season Zlatan Ibrahimovic. What followed was a chain of events that were unlucky, to say the least. Injuries along with the lack of consistency and lack of form from some key players saw us finish 6th when we could’ve easily fought for a top 3 finish. The new manager brought some desperately needed changes to the institution; sadly many of them were not executed properly and damaged the club’s reputation in the process. It was a disappointing campaign but what saved it from being a disaster was the Europa League title that guaranteed us a spot in the Champions League after 4 seasons of absence.
The bad begins with the lack of signings at the beginning of the season. Louis Van Gaal had spent a massive amount of money the previous season bringing players like Memphis Depay, Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Antony Martial so it was obvious that Mourinho was going to have to work with what he had and hoping that Rooney could get back in form before the season started. With all these factors it was obvious that Zlatan would have a team formed around him but it all just fell apart. What followed was a number of games that ended with draws, this was a combination of poor finishing from the forwards (Rashford, Martial, and Lingard) and lack of defending ability from the defensive line. The problem that marked United the most were the constant injuries (Phill Jones, Eric Bally, Ashley Young) and towards the most decisive stage of the campaign Zlatan would be ruled out with a possible career ending injury. Mourinho could never really settle for a solid and primary XI as he had to constantly change formations due to that problem. The darkest points that I attribute to “Mou” are the mistreatment of Bastian and to so some extent Rooney. In Bastian’s case, it’s safe to say that he wasn’t given a fair chance with Mourinho or Van Gaal, they both had the perception that due to his age he was past his prime and it would only slow down the team chemistry during games. He was benched by Mourinho all season but managed to stay positive and was grateful when he left to the MLS during the January window. This indifference cost Mourinho a lot of criticism, especially after the amount of talent and ability he displayed with his new team. However, Rooney is a completely different case. He was signaled by Van Gaal after his fitness the previous season saw him get relegated to a midfield role, something weird after the world saw him as one of the best strikers in the game. Mourinho gave him one last opportunity to prove himself but Rooney fell short once again. He made some contributing appearances but was never worth of a spot in the main XI. Sadly we may have seemed the last of him during the Europa League final as he even lost the team’s captaincy to Antonio Valencia and was a backup choice to Fellaini. I honestly hope he stays one more season mainly because of what he means to the club, it would be sad to confirm the fact that his career might be over at just 31 years old.
THE GOOD/ HEROES
It’s hard for me to find positive points, thankfully I at least have some players that stood out this season. The first and most valuable player is none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic that despite his 37 years of age managed moments of brilliance and provided openings in games that we deserved to lose. The league cup goal that gave us the victory is perhaps one of his best moments of the season but he was also the reason why we managed to reach the European final. The unlikely hero that was a villain since he arrived at United is Fellaini. He played a big role this season giving us a solid aerial defense and some stability in midfield. One player that stood out the most this season was none other that Antonio Valencia. Since his arrival, he has gone from a right wing position to a left back, hard to understand really but his solid defending and speed might be a reason. The fact that Mou saw him as one of the best and was confident enough to make him the second captain speaks how professional and dedicated he is. The defensive attribute saved United in numerous matches this season; let’s just hope he keeps his current form. The best moment? For me, it has to be the win against Chelsea in Stanford Bridge because it was the best game we played all season.
I really don’t know how the next season will be for United but I guess it all depends on the transfer window. For now, I’m just glad we finally return to Champions League football but the future holds surprises. What if Griezman joins us from Atletico Madrid? Will Rooney stay? What about Zlatan? These are all good questions, we might just have to let things unfold and hope for the best…