Last season: 6th
With two trophies and Champions League qualification secured, Jose Mourinho's first season at Old Trafford was undoubtedly a successful one.
Yet their cup success masked a number of issues, and it was only their Europa League final victory over Ajax that secured their return to Europe’s top table this term.
Mourinho was vocal about the need for United to invest, and the club have backed him heavily in the transfer market this summer, with Victor Lindelof (£31m from Benfica), Romelu Lukaku (£75m from Everton) and Nemanja Matic (£40m from Chelsea) all arriving to boost the club’s Premier League title hopes.
The trio of recruits sit alongside two notable departures, with record goalscorer Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both leaving over the summer.
Rooney, who struggled for game time last season, was allowed to re-join boyhood club Everton while Ibrahimovic did not have his contract renewed after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage that forced him to miss the end of last season.
Of the two, it is undoubtedly the Swedish international who is the greater loss. The 35-year-old bagged 28 goals in all competitions and the pressure to fill that void will fall largely on Lukaku’s shoulders.
United will need him to hit the ground running but they will also hope for more from Paul Pogba. Matic’s arrival from Chelsea should allow the Frenchman to push further forward and plug the creativity gap, while Mourinho will also need to get the likes of Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata firing.
If he can do that they could be very dangerous indeed.
Glass half full: United have splashed the cash in the transfer market and Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic are all sensible signings as Mourinho looks to create a younger, fresher and more dynamic starting XI. A lack of Thursday night Europa League football should help their Premier League form. The club drew a lot of games last season and it wouldn’t take a huge amount to turn some of those into victories this time around.
Glass half empty: Romelu Lukaku’s goals will only offset those lost through the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic while the club are yet to address the lack of creativity that stifled them in the Premier League last season.
New kids on the block: Victor Lindelof – Benfica, Romelu Lukaku – Everton, Nemanja Matic – Chelsea.
Left the building: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – released, Wayne Rooney – Everton, Regan Poole – Northampton (loan), Adnan Januzaj – Real Sociedad, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts – released, Faustin Makela – released, Josh Harrop – Preston, Dean Henderson – Shrewsbury (loan), Sam Johnstone – Aston Villa (loan).
The gaffer: Jose Mourinho – The former Chelsea boss is in his second season at Old Trafford now and history suggests there will be a marked improvement from the first. The Portuguese won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan in his second season and it was at this stage that his Real Madrid side beat Pap Guardiola’s Barcelona to the La Liga title.
Star man: Romelu Lukaku – Still only 24-years-old, the Belgian international already has 85 Premier League goals to his name from his spells at West Brom and Everton. If United are to have a strong season they will need their record signing to be scoring from the word go and offset the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
One to watch: Anthony Martial – The Frenchman announced himself with a bang with a spectacular debut season in 2015/16 as he scored 17 goals in all competitions. Last year was less successful as he was in and out of the side and failed to get into double figures. He will need to win Jose Mourinho’s trust if he is to get more game-time this time around.
First five games: West Ham United (H), Swansea City (A), Leicester City (H), Stoke City (A), Everton (H).
Premier League Title Odds: 10/3
Top Four Odds: 4/11
Relegation Odds: 1500/1
Top Goalscorer Odds: Romelu Lukaku ¼
Star Bet: Jose Mourinho gets a pass for last year’s sixth place finish after steering the club back into the Champions League via the Europa League and winning the EFL Cup. He’ll need to go better this season and it’s tough to back against them doing that having spent £160m on Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof. With no summer international tournament Jose Mourinho has had a full pre-season to work with his squad and with a relatively kind set of opening fixtures gives his side the chance to set an early marker this season. They open with West Ham at home before a trip to Swansea and then play host to Leicester before the international break and it would not surprise if they topped the table with three wins as we start September. To top the Premier League table at the end of August – Manchester United 16/5