When Cristiano Ronaldo suddenly expressed his desire to leave Juventus in late August 2021, many well-informed journalists immediately connected him to Manchester City. The Portuguese superstar, together with his agent Pedro Mendes, actually made a verbal agreement with the Citizens over personal terms. However, the club decided to pull out of the deal, leaving room for their bitter city rivals Manchester United to bring Ronaldo back.
The Red Devils were quick to react and have eventually confirmed the transfers on the last day of August, although the full agreement was reached four days earlier. Ronaldo made an instant impact on so many levels at the club. The first 24 hours of Cristiano’s shirt sales broke the all-time record.
Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world and now they have one of the best goalscorers in the history of the game back in their ranks. Can we immediately see them as contenders for the title despite knowing that the Red Devils have not been champions of England since the 2012/13 season (when they were still led by legendary Sir Alex Ferguson? We have analysed this with the help of John Pentin, Premier League expert at New Jersey tipping site NewJerseySafeBetting.com.
Ronaldo scores a brace on his second debut at the Old Trafford
The narrative was all there. A home fixture against struggling Newcastle United (one of the worst defensive teams in the division) in front of a sold-out Theater of Dreams. Ronaldo just had to show up. He did show up and complete a brace to clear the path for the Red Devils to breeze past the Magpies 4-1 on the day.
Do Manchester United have the quality to compete for the throne?
Manchester United generally got off to a fine start to the new Premier League campaign. Following Ronaldo’s debut in the fourth-round clash against Newcastle, the Red Devils have won three and drawn one of the opening four matches. Such a record was enough to catapult them to the very top of the standings as no other team achieved a perfect record after four games.
Nevertheless, most experts are still considering Man United incapable of matching their bitter city enemies or the Champions League winners Chelsea. While the Red Devils have been nowhere near the top in the recent seasons, they do look capable of big things in the 2021/22 season.
Manchester United have had a tremendous summer transfer window, acquiring the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. They look powerful all over the pitch and there are no reasons for this team not to be competitive in the battle for the titles.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has plenty of talent in his ranks. The back line looks super solid with Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane at center backs & Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw at full-back positions. Fred, Nemanja Matic, and Scott McTominay should all do well as defensive midfielders, while the attacking line featuring the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, and Edinson Cavani can score goals against any team in the world.
Who are Manchester United’s main rivals in the Premier League?
According to most experts (and anyone who follows the competition), Manchester City and Chelsea are the top two contenders for the throne this season in the Premier League. After all, these two sides have played the UEFA Champions League final last season and they have also strengthened their respective squads this summer.
Manchester City have completed the long-anticipated Jack Grealish move from Aston Villa. Pep Guardiola now has a plethora of creators as Grealish joined the like of Kevin De Bruyne. These two players took the top two spots in the list of the most chances created in the previous term of the Premier League.
Chelsea, on the other side, added a well-known like Romelu Lukaku to their attacking arsenal. The Belgian forward made an immediate impact scoring three goals in his opening three appearances for the Blues at the start of the new season.
We should also by no means forget the likes of Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s machinery is ready to get back to the 2019/20 glory with Virgil Van Dijk fully recovered from the injury that kept him away throughout most of the last season. Liverpool still have a powerful attacking trident (now potentially a quartet including Diogo Jota), featuring the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino. These players are well capable of scoring consistently and against any team in the league.
On paper, these three outfits look powerful, but so do Manchester United. If things go their way (with luck in certain games and injuries), it can honestly be anyone’s game and we should not be surprised to see Manchester United right up there alongside City, Chelsea, and Liverpool.