A 2020/21 season where Manchester United have shown huge growth under Ole Gunnar Solskjær could get even better before the end of the campaign, according to bookmakers.
The Red Devils have the confidence of the bookies to finish the year with silverware after outlasting their big-name rivals in the Europa League, where they are favourites to win the tournament at evens in the latest UEFA Europa League betting. With the Premier League title seemingly out of reach – for this year, at least – Europe’s second competition remains United’s best shot at a trophy, and Solskjær will surely focus his energy there with Champions League football already secure via a spot in the top four.
With United one of the teams dropping into the Europa League from the Champions League, by no means has it been a stroll in the park to make it as far as they have. A crowded field of contenders including Napoli, Lille, Benfica, Bayer Leverkusen, PSV, and Red Bull Salzburg, in addition to Premier League rivals Spurs and Leicester, have all fallen by the wayside this year. In winning two-legged ties against Real Sociedad and AC Milan, United have shown they have superior quality across the squad than some of Europe’s dark horses.
In Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, especially, United have two of the high-rated midfielders in all of Europe, both big reasons that France and Portugal are fancied for this summer’s European Championships. Both possess the quality in the middle of the park to control the game and find the key passes that can decide high-pressure games, but, perhaps more importantly, they contribute massively in the goal-scoring column, too. With United’s front-line not always firing on all cylinders this year and Edinson Cavani in and out of the starting eleven, the goals Pogba and Fernandes provide are part of what makes them indispensable to this United team.
At the back, this is a United defence starting to play its best football after some questionable moments early this season. Dean Henderson looks to have locked down the goalkeeper’s gloves with a string of good performances, possibly preceding a departure for David de Gea after a decade of excellence this summer, while Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf have mostly ironed out the mistakes that plagued United in the Champions League group stage.
But, perhaps the biggest change at the back has been the resurgence of Luke Shaw. Deservedly recalled to the England squad despite fierce competition at his position, Shaw has been the best defender in the Premier League this year. The left-back, once the scapegoat for every United loss he played in under Jose Mourinho, now looks just as dangerous going forward as he does safe in defence. In a season full of standout performers, Shaw’s maturity and level head at the back surely makes him a contender for Player of the Year honours at Old Trafford.
United will aim to avoid a repeat of last year‘s Europa League campaign, in which they made the semi-finals but were stung 2-1 by eventual winners Sevilla in a one-legged tie.