Manchester United’s rollercoaster of a campaign came to an end last week when they finished the Premier League season on 3rd place! Now that seemed near impossible when they were 14 points behind Leicester City in January, but hitting peak form over the last few months & watching others stumble at regular intervals enabled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to end the campaign with a bang.
The campaign itself is a rather bizarre one. United only picked up 66 points in the PL, the same as they did last season when they finished 6th! They were extremely inconsistent & sluggish towards the first half of the campaign, but lethal & brilliant in the second half. Bruno Fernandes’ signing ended up being a revelation for their late surge and helped secure a much-needed Premier League place.
Of course there is still a lot of work to do, but a number of United stars exceeded expectations with their performances this season. With the Premier League campaign done, we rate the players for the 19/20 season.
David de Gea (C)
David de Gea never really hit top form this season and was way too error-prone for someone of his stature. Despite being the highest-paid player in the team, De Gea failed to lead from the front & his school-boy mistakes – most notably against Everton, Watford & Chelsea (FA Cup semi-finals) – were unacceptable. While he somehow managed to finish the campaign with as many PL clean-sheets as Alisson, De Gea never really hit that ‘Superman’ form this season.
Sergio Romero (B+)
Romero kept 11(!) clean-sheets in just 15 appearances for United this season, only conceding 4 goals at that. Deserved to start more games ahead of De Gea.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (A)
Definitely United’s best buy of the summer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka brought everything the club was lacking in their malfunctioning right-back slot. With his brilliant defensive qualities, ‘Spider-Wan’ shut out the league’s best to give United an added advantage.
He ended the PL season with most number of tackles in the league & even provided a few nice assists towards the end. Wan-Bissaka needs to improve his attacking ability to be in the debate of the ‘Best RB’s’ in the league, but his sensational defensive work helped United keep all those clean-sheets.
Diogo Dalot (D)
Couldn’t get out of Wan-Bissaka’s shadows. Made a few appearances &looked too nervy in those as well. Only prominent contribution came in the FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers.
Harry Maguire (B+)
Despite the price-tag of £80m hanging over him, Harry Maguire didn’t buckle under pressure. Progressed well to become United captain in January and played every single minute of their EPL campaign!
Mantained a strong defensive line, led by example with a vocal attitude looks to be building a good partnership with Victor Lindelof. Was unmatched in aerial duels. Despite occasional errors, he played a prominent part in improving United’s defensive record.
Victor Lindelof (B+)
Like Maguire, Lindelof also lost concentration on a few occasions to make unnecessary mistakes. But the Iceman maintained a composed demeanour throughout, playing as the cover defender but not shying away from going on the attack. Put in a few great performances in big games (especially in the last-day win over Leicester) & silenced many menacing forwards. Seems to be getting better with experience at Old Trafford.
Eric Bailly (B-)
Eric Bailly was actually really solid whenever he did play, helping United keep clean-sheets & bullying oppositions in the majority of the games he started. But injuries once again buckled his chances of breaking into the first-team and he must improve that to have a significant future at United.
Phil Jones (N/R)
Jones didn’t start a league game for United after his disasterclass in defending in the 3-3 draw against Sheffield United. Last featured in the FA Cup win over Tranmere & likely to be sold in the summer.
Axel Tuanzebe (D)
Despite showing signs of promise in cup games initially, Tuanzebe got injured in September & never recovered from that.
Marcos Rojo (D)
Rojo played very rarely in the first-half of the campaign before being loaned in January.
Brandon Williams (B-)
Young Brandon Williams had his breakthrough season as much-needed competition for Luke Shaw, being a real firecracker down the left. Put in a lot of heart into his performances, always looking energetic & up for any battle. Put in a few good, important performances and added a unique attacking threat with his impressive ability with his weaker foot.
Luke Shaw (B+)
Shaw had his injuries troubles once again, but featured in the majority of United’s campaign. Struggled to get going initially but hit top form from January onwards.
Added a lot of defensive stability with his smart defending, slotted in well as a makeshift centre-back and linked well when going forward in the left-wing. Featured in 17 of United’s 19-game unbeaten streak from February & seems to be always improving under Solskjaer.
Despite being written off by everyone last season, Fred turned up big for United when they needed him the most after Pogba & McTominay’s injuries. The Brazilian’s unmatched energy, pressing & persistence helped United take the fight to fierce opposition.
Fred was unfortunately benched after the season restart and failed to bring the precision/creativity of Pogba, but he’s won a place in the squad with his tenacious, gritty performances.
Nemanja Matic (B+)
For Matic, the season has been an astounding turnaround. It seemed like he was destined to leave in January when Ole persistently kept him on the bench in the first few months, but the midfield injuries was a blessing in disguise for the Serbian.
With his bullish presence in midfield, ability to win possession and provide more defensive cover, he became an integral part of United’s second-half success. His presence allowed the Pogba+Fernandes duo to shine & Matic used his experience perfectly to form a sturdy midfield line to bully opponents.
Andreas Pereira (D)
Pereira had a handful of decent games against weak opponents, but lacked the graft or killer instinct unlike Bruno. He scored a few goals and picked up some assists here & there, but Andreas’ sloppiness saw him become a bench-warmer since January.
Jesse Lingard (E)
Lingard’s only noteworthy moment came by scoring United’s last goal of the league campaign, solidifying a third-place finish. Apart from that, he was sloppy, disinterested & frustrating to watch whole season long.
Scott McTominay (B)
The Scotsman was one of the few left fighting when United endured a rough patch in the first-half of their season. McTominay’s determination &fighting spirit helped him inspire his teammates, as the vocal, strong character energized their midfield during difficult times.
He bullied opponents, fought back with an iron fist and showcased brilliant work-rate to dominate the midfield, while also contributing key goals in big games. McTominay might’ve been overshadowed after the season restart, but he’s still shown enough heart to earn the long-term deal United handed him recently.
Paul Pogba (B-)
After being injured for the two-thirds of the campaign, Pogba added that extra boost to United after the season restart. Forming solid chemistry with Bruno, he helped them break down teams easily &dominate games without having to rely on counter-attacks. Created gorgeous chances & looks genuinely happy playing at Old Trafford again. Looks set to stay beyond the summer despite all the exit links.
Bruno Fernandes (A+)
The signing of the season and a good shot for player of the season, Fernandes was the guardian angel United needed to secure a top-4 finish in the Premier League. He brought everything they lacked, from a demanding attitude, to creativity in an attacking position & the goal-scoring spark.
Bruno’s winning mentality motivated those around him to only lost 1 game in all competitions after he arrived. Fernandes scored 10 goals & provided 8 assists since arriving in late January, including 8 goals & 7 assists in the PL! He had a Mo Salah-esque impact and will go down as the arguably greatest January signing in United’s history.
Juan Mata (C)
Mata added that extra magic in cup competitons for United, mostly importantly winning them the FA Cup 4th round tie against Wolves! But he doesn’t have the legs nor consistency for Premier League anymore, which makes him a bench-warmer at best for OGS side now.
Mason Greenwood (A)
Another sensational revelation to come out from this season is Mason Greenwood, who looks like the second coming of Robin van Persie. The teenager earned his opportunities this season & pounced on it brilliantly, scoring 17 goals in all competitions! He outscored many ‘experienced’ strikers in the PL with 10 strikes & looked unstoppable on occasions.
With the ability to score thunderous goal with either feet, possessing the killer instinct of an elite #9 & scoring when it mattered most, Greenwood powered United’s blitz in the second-half of the season and proved himself as arguably the best teenager in Europe right now.
Odion Ighalo (B)
The Nigerian striker had no expectations from him after arriving but ended up being a prolific alternative to Anthony Martial. Ighalo scored in every game he started for United, mostly in cup competitions. He was a bit unlucky not getting enough time to impress in the league, but deserved his loan extension till January after being a handy goal-scorer for Solskjaer.
Daniel James (B-)
James was bought for the future but made instant impact with goals &assists in his initial games for United. The speedy winger used his pace to terrorize opponents and was perfect for United’s counter-attacking style. However, as the season dragged on & fatigue caught up, the Welshman started to lose steam. He ended the season in dismal fashion, but 3 goals and 6 assists in his first PL season is still a decent return.
Marcus Rashford (A)
Marcus Rashford proved just how good he can be with his brilliant work down the left-wing for United this season, tormenting defenders with his pace & trickery. He also maintained goal-scoring consistency and turned up in the big games, powering United forward when they looked wobbly.
The Englishman wasn’t at his very best after the season restart (still recovering from a nasty knock) but still got a few goals to end his impressive campaign with 23 goals (in all competitions). On top of that, Rashford’s charitable work outside the field proved that the Red Devils are lucky to have a humble yet lethal player like him.
Anthony Martial (A)
Solskjaer took a big risk selling Romelu Lukaku & giving the No.9 shirt to Anthony Martial at the start of the season, but the Frenchman proved his doubters wrong. He excelled in the central role, often getting in between defenders cleverly & evolving as a traditional striker as the season moved on.
Martial showcased more strength in holding up+linking up superbly with his teammates after the season restart and hit top gear after the arrival of Fernandes. The Frenchman scored 17 in the league (same as Rashford) & built a thriving friendly competition with the Englishman as well. Martial seems to be getting better & better as a no.9 & as long as he stays fit, he should start peaking as an elite goal-scorer from next season.