·6 June 2023
·6 June 2023
Just like any other season, Manchester United’s 2022/23 season had a lot of emotions, both sad and upbeat. It might be successful, or it might be a failure, but it is never boring with the Reds.
With the club and Erik ten Hag now reflecting on a year that was gruelling but rewarding in some aspects, it is time to look back and analyse how Manchester United did in each competition. The year ended in heartbreak with the FA Cup final loss to Manchester City, but all isn’t doom and gloom for the future.
Here’s rating Manchester United’s 2022/23 season by analysing their performance in each competition:
With an upturn of 17 points from last season, United were the second-most improved team in the Premier League. While that statistic speaks more about a wretched 2021/22 season than a prosperous 2022/23 year, it is still a very promising sign for years ahead under Erik ten Hag.
Not many picked United to finish in the top four at the beginning of the season and everything was plunged into doom and gloom after opening two defeats. The 0-4 defeat to Brentford in the second game was one of United’s worst away defeats this season.
However, the team engineered a remarkable turnaround. The opening-day defeat at home to Brighton remained United’s only loss at Old Trafford, as the club won the second-most points at home. Teams had begun fancying Old Trafford as a place where they could get a result. Erik ten Hag’s first priority was to change that narrative and it has been achieved.
Away form remains a concern but getting the second-highest points total since Sir Alex Ferguson retired while managing through a unique season due to the winter World Cup, with glaring holes in the squad is a good first season. A “best of the rest” finish is a fine achievement all things considered.
Improvements in the away form next season should make United a challenger for the title, a natural next step. Considering the position the club was in at the start of the season, it is a big step forward.
Rating – 8/10
The six-year-long trophy drought was ended in Erik ten Hag’s first season when Manchester United beat Newcastle 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final. United were granted a fairly regular path to the final, being drawn as the home team at every stage (Nottingham Forest away the only game in the semifinal due to the two-legged system) and not facing a top-six side.
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However, it is precisely in these games that the older United had made a habit of slipping. There were no upset alarms this year as Red Devils put in professional performances throughout to dispatch the underdogs in every tie. Only two goals were conceded throughout the tournament, both to Aston Villa in the fourth round. Nobody was left in any doubt about United’s superiority in the competition and the thirst for a Wembley trip was satiated in quick time.
A job well done by the team, although the path to the cup was on the easier side.
The dream of a domestic double and stopping City’s treble was stopped in its tracks when the team lost to their rivals in a spirited performance in the final. However, United can take many positives from their run to the final, including the final performance.
Everton, Reading, West Ham, Fulham, and Brighton were defeated on the path to the final and only Brighton really posed any threat of an upset. United showed their newfound steel and determination to get through the FA Cup rounds in the midst of an unforgiving fixture schedule.
Even the much fancied Manchester City were given a scare in the final as United huffed and puffed for an equaliser in the 2-1 loss. Another two trips to Wembley were confirmed in the run. United once called Wembley as their second Old Trafford, such was the frequency with which they made it to the stadium. Erik ten Hag’s team is bringing that moniker back.
Close but no cigar in FA Cup, but very optimistic signs for the future.
The biggest missed opportunity for United this season, and a defeat that probably sealed the future of many at the club. Manchester United were handed a fortunate draw in the Group Stages but made a mess of it by losing to Real Sociedad at home.
The best of Erik ten Hag’s side was on display next in the Round of 32 as La Liga champions Barcelona were knocked out in convincing fashion. With Arsenal’s surprise elimination by Sporting, United were the undisputed favourite to go all the way. They confirmed that credential with an emphatic elimination of Real Betis in the Round of 16.
Then came Sevilla. Leading 2- 0 after 80 minutes at Old Trafford, United inconceivably collapsed to draw the game. The players had the chance then to exorcise their demons by winning away at Sevilla. What followed was an unmitigated disaster. Sevilla bossed United at their home ground as the players looked clueless and devoid of confidence and belief. A 3-0 loss flattered United and the chance to add to their European pedigree was left in the dust.
Sevilla eventually winning the whole tournament puts that loss in another perspective. However, United’s quality on paper is such that that performance remains inexcusable.
All things considered, this was a good season for the club. Erik ten Hag delivered the club’s expectation of a top-four finish, and the trophy drought ended. Some breakout superstars emerged and the club finally looks to have a direction, at least on the pitch.
There are issues to sort out, mainly with the striker position and away form, but this season provides a solid platform for future success.
Do you agree with the ratings given? Comments your thoughts down below on how you think United fared this season.
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