Manchester United 2022/23 Season Review

Manchester United concluded their 2022-23 season with a 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Manchester United concluded their 2022-23 season on a positive note, having won the EFL Cup in February and securing a third-place finish in the Premier League.

Their successful league campaign ensured their qualification for the upcoming 2023-24 Champions League, which was a primary objective for manager Erik Ten Hag in his debut season at the club.

In this analysis report, we reflect on the key highlights and events from Manchester United’s 2022-23 campaign.

The Statistics:

Final Premier League Position: 3rd Rank

Carabao Cup: Winners

FA Cup: Runners-up

Europa League: Quarter-finals

Top scorer: Marcus Rashford (30 goals)

Most assists: Bruno Fernandes (15 assists)

The Summary:

When Erik ten Hag took charge of United last summer, his primary goal was clear – secure a top-four position in the Premier League and make a return to the Champions League.

Critics may argue that Ten Hag hasn’t exceeded expectations, considering the quality of players added to the squad during the summer transfer window, including Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, and Antony.

These additions bolstered an already talented squad that had underperformed in the previous season.

Throughout the campaign, Ten Hag successfully navigated challenging situations, such as the Cristiano Ronaldo saga, which resulted in the termination of the Portuguese star’s contract due to his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

Additionally, underperforming captain Harry Maguire found himself mostly on the bench as Ten Hag demonstrated his authority.

Although Man United had a disastrous start to the 2022-23 Premier League season with consecutive losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford on August 22 sent a strong message and raised the team’s performance level from that point onward.

Throughout the 2022-23 season, the Red Devils had its fair share of highs and lows. While there were disappointing losses, such as the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City and the 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool, the team displayed resilience by bouncing back quickly from these setbacks.

Following a 4-0 loss to Brentford, they won seven out of their next 10 Premier League matches, showcasing their character.

After a loss to Aston Villa in November, United again responded strongly, winning five and drawing one of their next six matches. However, a 3-2 loss to Arsenal halted their momentum.

The team’s form at Old Trafford was exceptional, earning 48 points from 19 home matches, second only to Manchester City’s 52 points. On the other hand, their away form suffered, with eight losses highlighting an area that needs improvement for future title challenges.

Ten Hag’s achievement of securing a top-four finish was commendable, especially considering the challenges faced, such as the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and the underwhelming performances of new signing Wout Weghorst.

The team’s six-year trophy drought came to an end as they lifted the EFL Cup, but their Europa League journey was halted in the quarter-finals by Sevilla.

Defensively, there was a significant improvement, with David de Gea even winning the Golden Glove. However, the Spaniard’s occasional errors and concerns about playing out from the back remained.

Ten Hag had to manage the ownership situation involving the Glazers, which added uncertainty to the team’s financial resources for the upcoming transfer window.

The season concluded on a disappointing note with a 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup final. Injuries affected the team, and the absence of players like Anthony Martial, Antony, and Marcel Sabitzer was felt.

Despite this setback, Man United’s overall performance exceeded expectations, finishing third in the Premier League, winning the EFL Cup, reaching the FA Cup final, and making it to the Europa League quarter-finals.

Ten Hag’s ability to make tough decisions in crucial moments has demonstrated his suitability as the manager the club has been searching for since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

Manchester United’s Best Player Of The 2022/23 Season: Marcus Rashford

In the 2021/22 season, Marcus Rashford struggled after recovering from a long-term shoulder injury, resulting in his lowest goal tally of his career with just five goals in all competitions.

However, Rashford experienced a complete turnaround this season, as he reached the milestone of scoring 30 goals in a single campaign for the first time.

His performances showcased his ability to be a game-changer and a decisive player capable of turning the tide at any given moment. From late December to late February, Rashford went on an impressive scoring spree, finding the back of the net consistently.

During this period, he scored crucial goals, including a winner in the Manchester derby, one against Barcelona, and another in the Carabao Cup final.

Also Read: Marcus Rashford Nominated for Premier League Player of the Season Award

Even in the first half of the season before the World Cup break, Rashford had already made a significant impact by scoring against Arsenal and securing a vital win against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

A significant moment in Rashford’s season occurred when he was dropped from the starting lineup by Ten Hag for being late to a team meeting ahead of a match against Wolves on New Year’s Eve.

However, Rashford did not let this setback affect him negatively. Instead, he responded with a winning goal when coming off the bench, displaying his determination to put the incident behind him.

Manchester United’s Goal Of The Season: Antony vs Barcelona

Man United and Barcelona faced each other in the Europa League knockout playoff in February.

Both teams were in excellent form and considered among the strongest in Europe. The intensity of their matchup could have easily resembled a high-stakes Champions League encounter.

The first leg at Camp Nou was a thrilling affair, filled with drama. United managed to recover from a deficit but later conceded an equalizer.

In the second leg, Barcelona took the lead with an early penalty from Robert Lewandowski, putting them in a favourable position. However, Fred equalized, bringing the aggregate score level.

The stage was set for Antony, who, as the second most expensive player in United’s history, had the opportunity to make a decisive impact.

Although shots from Alejandro Garnacho and Fred were blocked, the talented Brazilian winger managed to find a gap in Barcelona’s defence with a perfectly executed first-time pass into the far bottom corner of the net.

What a goal it was!

Manchester United’s Signing Of The Season: Casemiro

Eyebrows were raised when United secured the signing of Casemiro from Real Madrid for a fee that could reach £70 million.

As a player who had just won his fifth Champions League title, it seemed peculiar for him to join a club that was going through its lowest point in over three decades. The decision raised questions.

Initially, the Brazilian faced a period of adaptation as he familiarized himself with Erik ten Hag’s methods and tactics. However, once he established himself as a regular starter, he proved his worth and significantly improved the team’s solidity and balance.

He quickly embraced the club’s culture at Old Trafford, demonstrating his desire to become a part of its illustrious history.

The only disappointment came from the number of games he missed due to suspensions, despite having a respectable disciplinary record during his time in Spain.

It was a peculiar situation, as he accumulated various bans throughout the season.

Manchester United’s Most Improved Player Of The Season: Diogo Dalot

Diogo Dalot’s future at Old Trafford appeared uncertain when he struggled to secure a regular place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team and was subsequently loaned to AC Milan for the 2020/21 season.

Despite returning to the club with a blurry future, his fortunes changed following Solskjaer’s departure.

Under new management, Dalot gradually established himself as a key player, showcasing consistent performances and making the most of his opportunities.

This season served as an important period for him to prove his worth, particularly since his contract was about to end.

As a result, shortly after the conclusion of the Premier League campaign, he was rewarded with a new contract that extends his stay at United until at least 2028.

Manchester United’s Best Young Player Of The Season: Alejandro Garnacho

The Argentine star kid has been one of the best players for United on the pitch. With 3 goals and 2 assists this season, Garnacho has already introduced himself on the biggest stage.

The 19-year-old had a below-par first half of the season as he was not given enough chances by the manager. However, his determination to win his role back and showcase his true worth has certainly turned the tide for him.

The gaffer has always looked at the bench whenever his team is in trouble as the young attacker has stepped up always. His match-winning goal against Fulham in the dying minutes of the game was the best of them all.

Garnacho’s impressive running ability, speed, and strong self-belief made him a menace for Manchester City, especially during the intense second hour of the match in the FA Cup final.

Ten Hag likely noticed qualities in Garnacho that he can utilize more frequently in the upcoming season.

This observation may serve as a reminder for players like Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, and Antony, who possess great talent but often struggle with inconsistency and fail to make a significant impact in important games.

Manchester United’s Game Of The Season:

Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle, Carabao Cup final

In just nine months since assuming the managerial role at Carrington, Ten Hag led Manchester United to their first trophy, winning the Carabao Cup in February.

This victory was huge as it ended the club’s six-year trophy drought, easing concerns and removing the burden associated with the lack of silverware.

While United faced difficulties against Newcastle in the Premier League throughout the season, including a draw at home and a loss at St. James’ Park, their performance at Wembley was particularly impressive.

The team secured a convincing win, with goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford effectively deciding the outcome of the match by halftime.

The Fan Favourite Results

There were three notable winners, starting with the Red Devils’ 3-1 victory over rivals Arsenal in the Premier League in September last year.

The win marked their fourth consecutive triumph after a slow start, and it was part of a run that also included a 2-1 triumph over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Another impressive performance came in February when Ten Hag’s side secured a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round. This result propelled them into the round of 16.

However, the standout result of the campaign was United’s 2-1 triumph over Manchester City in the January Manchester derby.

The Red Devils staged a comeback with Bruno Fernandes equalizing in the 78th minute, followed by Marcus Rashford’s winning goal four minutes later.

This result showcased the club’s resilience, as they suffered only one defeat in their last 19 matches across all competitions.  The celebration at the final whistle was wild.

Worst Performances Of The Season

Man United endured several significant setbacks throughout the season, including a heavy 6-3 defeat to Man City in October and a devastating 7-0 loss against Liverpool in March.

However, their defeat to their fierce rivals in the FA Cup final will be particularly painful, as it brings the Citizens closer to achieving a historic treble in the Premier League.

Although Man City didn’t display their best form, Ten Hag’s team failed to produce a performance capable of stopping their local rivals. Ilkay Gundogan scored twice to secure the title for Pep Guardiola’s side.

The gap between the two sides was evident, highlighting the need for United to make new signings in order to bridge the gap and increase their chances of competing for major trophies in the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, at Anfield, Liverpool made a complete mockery of the Red Devils. Jurgen Klopp’s side only took the lead late in the first half, but United experienced a complete collapse after halftime, allowing the hosts to run rampant.

Within five minutes of the restart, Klopp’s team were already 3-0 ahead and continued to extend their lead until the final score reached seven.

What Didn’t Go Right For Manchester United?

Man United’s away form experienced a rollercoaster ride throughout the season, with a mix of poor performances, slight recovery, and desperate outcomes.

In their final seven away league games, they managed to gather only seven points out of a possible 21, indicating a lack of consistency.

The team often displayed a lacklustre attitude, evident in matches against Brighton, West Ham, and Newcastle. On the other hand, their away displays against Brentford and Liverpool were nothing short of chaotic.

A concerning issue for United revolves around getting the best out of their wingers. Jadon Sancho and Antony were signed for a combined fee of £160 million. But they have struggled to make a significant impact.

It remains unclear whether their struggles stem from Bruno Fernandes’ dominance in possession, a lack of confidence, or difficulty in adapting to Ten Hag’s playing style. Improvement from these key players will be crucial for United in the upcoming season.

Although the Red Devils have made progress in reducing chances conceded from open play (excluding their away losses), their vulnerability in defending set-pieces remains a problem.

The issue may be attributed to marking issues or a lack of vocal leadership from goalkeeper David de Gea. The keeper’s form this season has cost the team valuable points and even jeopardized their top-four position.

Resolving this situation will be crucial for United’s success moving forward.

A Point For The Manager: Erik Ten Hag

It appears that Erik ten Hag is in the process of building something different at Manchester United.

Despite the team finishing 13 points outside the top four the previous season, he has managed to guide them back to the Champions League while also securing a trophy. This is a positive start.

However, there have been instances, such as the disappointing exit against Sevilla and the heavy defeat to Liverpool, that have made observers question the sustainability of the team’s progress.

It’s important to consider the potential impact of a prospective takeover on the club. The constant rumours and speculations surrounding the ownership situation have further divided the fanbase, who were already demanding the Glazers leave.

Ten Hag has also faced challenges such as managing the departure of Ronaldo and dealing with regular injuries. United remains a club with various components that can be difficult for a coach to handle.

We hope that the ownership issue doesn’t affect his plans for the ongoing summer transfer window and the upcoming new season.

Well Done gaffer!

What’s Next For United In The Summer Transfer Window?

The Red Devil’s performance in terms of goals scored in the Premier League this season highlights the need for improvement, as they only managed to find the net 58 times in 38 matches.

This total falls behind several other teams including Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City. To address this issue, it is clear that the club is in desperate need of a world-class centre-forward.

Harry Kane from Tottenham and Victor Osimhen from Napoli are considered their top targets, although they are also interested in Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt and Rasmus Holjund from Atalanta.

While the signings of Kane or Osimhen are uncertain, it is evident that a significant addition in the attacking department is required for Man United to compete at the top of the Premier League and make an impact in the Champions League.

In addition to a centre-forward, Ten Hag is reportedly interested in bolstering the central midfield. Declan Rice from West Ham United and Mason Mount from Chelsea have been heavily linked with moves to the club.

The lack of midfield energy was evident in United’s performance in the FA Cup final, and the potential signings of Rice and Mount would demonstrate the club’s ambition. However, acquiring both players could come at a substantial cost, likely exceeding £120m.

Although Martinez has performed well in his debut season at Old Trafford, the club may also require another centre-back if Harry Maguire departs. Kim Min-jae from Napoli is believed to be a leading target for this position.

Additionally, if a contract agreement with current goalkeeper David de Gea cannot be reached, the club will need to seek a new goalkeeper as well.

Our Final Verdict For The 2022/23 Season

Manchester United fans can take pride in the overall outcome of the season despite the disappointment of losing at Wembley.

Ten Hag has demonstrated his ability to revive the club’s glory days, but he will require significant support in the upcoming transfer window to build on the progress made.

Securing a return to the Champions League was the main objective, and the Dutch boss has accomplished that while also delivering the Carabao Cup as an added bonus.

The gaffer has exhibited resilience in the face of challenges and successfully steered the club through a challenging period.

As a result, there are plenty of reasons for United supporters to be optimistic about a promising future under his guidance.





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