2020 IN REVIEW: Did Manchester United Take a Step Forward?

This week finally marks a year since I began writing for American Red Devils– a big thanks to Alex and all readers. Since then, the following year was unlike any other for football fans. As a United supporter, 2020 felt painful. 3 Semi-finals that resulted in 3 losses and then watching our rivals lift those same trophies.

Even after the strong end to the 19/20 Premier League season, the Red Devils faced an early exit from the Champions League. However, through everything Manchester United continued to show signs of improvement. While there were struggles, last year was arguably monumental for United. The following depicts the vast developments that Manchester United made in 2020.

The Arrival of Bruno Fernandes

Everything changed when Bruno Fernandes became a United player. Before Bruno, the Red Devils’ offense was stagnant and lacking quality passes in the final third. This season, Fernandes has been the best player on the pitch for United. In 30 Premier Leauge games, Fernandes accumulated 33 goal scoring contributions (19 goals, 14 assists) which makes him the leader in both categories for United.

Long story short, Bruno Fernandes revolutionized Manchester United. If nothing else good came from 2020, Bruno became a Red Devil.

What's Van de Beek's best position for Man United?
2020 Signings, Bruno and van de Beek

Quality Signings in the Summer

United openly stated their interest in Jadon Sancho. Dortmund demanded over $145 million for the English winger. Rightfully or not, United refused to pay the price-tag and botched the deal. However, the summer window did bring in other transfers. The surprising deal was the addition of 33-year-old Edison Cavani. The Uruguayan is proving his worth early, on and off of the pitch through leadership in the locker-room. Much like Alex Telles who is providing cover for the often injured Luke Shaw. Donny van de Beek also signed for the Red Devils in 2020 and added a strong level of depth.

Despite the Sancho mishap, United’s transfer strategy is surprisingly senseible. The goal to sign players who can help with squad depth (and youth) was emphasized through the prior window. Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri, and the return of Dean Henderson from loan show United’s intent to be deep this season and for the future.

Dean Henderson v. Watford in the FA Cup

Deep Cup Runs and Form in the 4-2-3-1

In 2020, United could not finish in cup competitions. However, they made it to the semi-finals in all 3 of the cups that participated in. The losses were undoubtedly depressing, but the quality required to get to the semis cannot be understated. The main reason for that quality is the 4-2-3-1, Ole’s preferred formation. Since taking over, Ole focused on creating a style of play that represented his gameplan. The 4-2-3-1 highlights United’s counter-attacking play and deep-lying midfielders in the pivot. Even if United finished their cup runs poorly, their quality through the competitions bodes well for coming seasons.

Overall, 2020 held a lot of improvement for United. Looking back, even through the tough losses, 2020 could well be the year that United started to look up again.

Glory Glory Man United.

Written by CJ Szaz.

About CJ Szaz 57 Articles
A Red Devil for Life from the Queen City

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