Manchester United begin a new Premier League season this weekend with a testing clash against Leeds United at Old Trafford.
Following last season’s disappointment with defeat in the Europa League final, and finishing adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League hunt, there’s hefty expectation for improvement this term.
While last term had it’s drawbacks, it did represent progression for United and the signs are promising for the campaign that lies ahead, with the exciting additions of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
Fans are still eagerly awaiting an official unveiling on the latter, but the pair could be in line to make their debut against Leeds this weekend.
In fact, reports speculate that Sancho, amid the absence of Marcus Rashford due to injury, may immediately come into the starting line-up for the opening game of the season.
That would represent a brave decision from Solskjaer, with Sancho still needing to acclimatise with his new surroundings — having only started training on Monday — but it provides evidence of what United want to achieve this season and what they’re expecting from Sancho.
Having starred for Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and in domestic cup success, as well as in appearances for England, Sancho is well accustomed with the big stage. So a packed Old Trafford, although a dream occasion, won’t faze him.
Wind back the clock to the start of last season and it would’ve been harder to throw a new signing immediately into the starting line-up as, with the stands empty, they wouldn’t have the buzz from the crowd to drive them on.
That won’t be the case this weekend though, with a fierce atmosphere expected following a lengthy wait for supporters to return; the visit of historic rivals Leeds will increase the decibel levels by quite a few notches.
Sancho should thrive in that sort of environment, with an electric reception expected for the 21-year-old — potentially from the away supporters as well, given the unsavoury scenes on social media that the England starlet encountered following his Euro 2020 final penalty miss.
It’s not just an introductory appearance for Sancho though, as he has the capability to be the driving force in the United attack to propel Solskjaer’s side towards a valuable three points on the opening day.
1A record of 6 goals in 38 appearances last term, along with 15 assists, is a remarkable return and shows that he has the impact in the final third to be a match-winner.
United clearly want Sancho to hit the ground running this season and, should he start this weekend, it will show the faith that Solskjaer has in his new addition. That shouldn’t be too surprising given how long Sancho had been a United target.
A ready-to-go Sancho is a frightening prospect for the rest of the Premier League to deal with and, with Varane also coming in, the stage is set for an excellent season for United and a title charge.