Manchester United: Five Reasons Why Jose Mourinho Will Bring the 2017-18 Premier League Title to Old Trafford

Manchester United has not won the Premier League since 2012-13, an eternity for one of England's biggest and most successful football clubs.

That could be about to change.

United was lackluster in the league in 2016-17, its first campaign under Jose Mourinho. Now, with new signings and players from last season properly settled in, Mourinho's team looks primed for a renewed challenge. Here are five reasons why this could be United's year.

Paul Pogba

Pogba showed glimpses of dominance last year in between periods where he was still, clearly, finding his feet in the Premier League.

With a full preseason behind him, expect Pogba to show like he did for France in the recent friendly in Paris.

At Stade de France, Pogba put in a performance full of sublime touches that suggested the world's most expensive midfielder can indeed justify his vast fee in terms of performances on the pitch for United.

Improved defense

Mourinho has already moved this summer to strengthen United's central defense, buying Victor Lindelof from Benfica.

United's defending wasn't exactly the worst part of the team last season. Although the team had to go through several different partnerships due to injuries, it generally held steady.

That may have come at the expense of attacking play, however. Lindelof is a major ball-playing upgrade on any of the center halves Mourinho played next to Eric Bailly last season and should enable United to move the ball out from the back far more slickly.

A new striker

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions last season for United but his performances were a double-edged sword for Mourinho. United probably would have missed out on two trophies without Ibrahimovic, who scored the winning goals in the League Cup and Community Shield finals.

But Ibrahimovic also slowed down United's attacking play. A replacement—perhaps Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid, who is more mobile than Ibrahimovic—could equal the Swede's tally but also increase the team's potency all round up front.

Improvement from Marcus Rashford

Was Mourinho clever or wrong to limit Rashford's opportunities through much of last season? This season will tell. Rashford came alive in the last quarter of the campaign, when he moved from left wing to striker in the absence of Ibrahimovic.

Rashford remains a raw talent at just 18 but one of England's most promising. If Mourinho can continue to coax progress, and goals, out of him United could have another, homegrown weapon to use in the fight for the Premier League.

A calmer Mourinho

At times last season Mourinho appeared to be on hyperdrive, picking fights with everyone and everything.

In his second season, he still has much to prove, including, of course, bringing the Premier League back to Old Trafford. But now he has settled into the club furniture he may be a little more willing to let things slide. Mourinho's attacks on his own players last season were jarring, and did little to suggest the dressing room was entirely happy. A happier Mourinho should mean a better United on the pitch.

About the writer

Sportswriter at Newsweek.

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