Boasting millions of passionate fans in practically every corner of the globe, Manchester United is famed as one of the most followed clubs in world soccer, earning that support thanks to a legacy built upon huge success over the years. However, the last few years have been marked by a distinct lack of trophies, inevitably causing disappointment and frustration amongst their massive fanbase.
Currently enduring a drought that has extended to five years without silverware, the Red Devils have certainly failed to live up to their consistently stratospheric expectations, having become the most successful club in English football during the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. During a glittering tenure from 1986 to 2013, his continually evolving teams always competed for major honors, lifting 38 major trophies under his leadership.
This included winning the Premier League 13 times, five FA Cup victories, and four in the EFL Cup, plus two memorable Champions League triumphs. The FA Community Shield was hoisted aloft on ten occasions, albeit shared on one occasion in 1990, while further success was achieved in other continental and global competitions. These featured the European Cup Winners’ Cup, European Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.
The hard fall from grace
Inevitably, following such an expansive dynasty was always going to be complicated once Ferguson eventually relinquished his control of the team. He was recognized as the most successful football manager of all time. His immediate successor David Moyes quickly bucked under pressure, while vastly experienced Louis van Gaal could only muster one FA Cup triumph.
Despite an exceptional first campaign, when Jose Mourinho led United to success in the FA Community Shield, EFL Cup, and the Europa League, even the famed Portuguese managerial mastermind eventually came unstuck. He was eventually replaced by former player and fan-favorite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but even with the affable Norwegian at the wheel, the Red Devils were no better than runners-up in England or Europe.
Not even the return of global football icon Cristiano Ronaldo could boost their fortunes when Solskjaer too was ousted from his post in 2021, as the club turned to temporary fixes in the managerial hot seat. Michael Carrick was briefly caretaker boss, ahead of German ‘gegenpressing’ expert Ralf Rangnick seeing out the 2021-22 campaign as interim head coach, but even his excellent credentials failed to deliver consistent results.
The Dutchman tasked with restoring pride
One thing had become increasingly clear; Manchester United was no longer a force to be reckoned with due to Manchester City having firmly taken hold of that mantle. Once referred to as the “noisy neighbors” across town by Sir Alex Ferguson, they have dominated English football under Pep Guardiola. Furthermore, arch-rivals Liverpool have also returned to prominence, masterminded by Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.
Hoping to restore the lost prize and lay the foundations of a brighter future, Manchester United turned to Dutch coach Erik ten Hag, who had established himself as a rising managerial star with Ajax in the Netherlands. Reputed as a demanding leader, his immediate task was revitalizing the team and clearing out any dissenting voices, which eventually included the disruptive influence of want-away Cristiano Ronaldo.
Although this new-look United made a slow start to the 2022-23 campaign, just beyond the midway point of the season, the team led by Ten Hag is now challenging in four different competitions. They have already reached the EFL Cup final, scheduled for 26 February at Wembley Stadium against Newcastle United, providing the Dutchman with his first opportunity for silverware and restoring pride for his club.
United tipped for success under Ten Hag
Should they win the EFL Cup, it would undoubtedly be a huge leap forward for Manchester United, especially following such a prolonged silverware drought. By putting something in the trophy cabinet at Old Trafford, the growing confidence brought by Ten Hag would also gain further momentum as his team strives to improve and challenge in other competitions, including the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Most intriguingly of all, the Red Devils now feature within touching distance of the Premier League title race, albeit still regarded as outside contenders according to the latest odds. This makes comparing analysis for the best betting websites all the more worthwhile, based upon expert knowledge and guides provided by SBO industry insiders, who provide analysis and insight covering all football markets.
Although their odds are shortening, some bookies continue to scorn any possibility of United winning the Premier League this season, regardless of being only five points behind leaders Arsenal and three adrift of Manchester City in second. But even if Ten Hag doesn’t win the English title on his first attempt, there are plenty of reasons for supporters to be encouraged, given the Dutchman has already begun turning this club in the right direction.