Premier League 2018-19 preview: Manchester United

Talking points

The fourth part of the build-up to the season starting on Friday

1. GOOD ENOUGH TO MATCH CITY?

It is easy to forget that Manchester United were runners-up last season, simply because champions Manchester City were too far ahead.

United's attack has too often lacked creativity and it does not seem likely that the likes of top quality forwards Gareth Bale or Ivan Perisic will join before the Thursday deadline.

City have added Riyad Mahrez to their attack while United have stagnated. Jose Mourinho may find it even tougher to play catch-up this campaign.

2. THE PRE-SEASON EFFECT

The numbers do not lie. United were without up to 17 senior players during their pre-season preparations due either to injuries or post-World Cup breaks.

To make matters worse, Mourinho had constantly complained during their United States tour and how this could have affected the morale in the dressing room remains to be seen.

If United do not get off to a good start, it may be difficult to get back on track as Mourinho's powers of motivation are suspect when things are not going his way.

3. POGBA NEEDS TO SHOW UP

The Frenchman is no doubt a world-class player but he failed to put in consistently good performances for United last term.

Comparatively, he was a star in France's World Cup-winning team and it just goes to show that he can be a game-changer if he is motivated enough, or played in the right position by Mourinho.

It could be a make-or-break season for the midfielder.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2018, with the headline 'Talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe