Alan Shearer believes that Manchester United have all the ingredients necessary to win the Premier League title this season.
Jose Mourinho’s men opened their campaign with an emphatic 4-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford, with Romelu Lukaku claiming a brace on his Premier League debut.
Another goal from the Belgian, alongside strikes from Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, against Swansea City last weekend has given Man United the perfect start to the season.
And Shearer, who predicted United to win the league before a ball was kicked, noted in his column for the Sun that Mourinho’s men have what it takes to launch a successful title assault this season.
“This is a team with all the ingredients to do it,” he wrote. “They are big and powerful — with pace on the pitch and strength in depth off it.”
“What any striker needs when he joins a club, particularly when it is for a huge transfer fee, is a good start. Well, with three goals in his opening two games, Lukaku has certainly had that and you can see the confidence in him.”
“It is so far, so good as they try to build on the momentum of their cup double last season. The manager is a serial winner, he knows how to get these jobs done — particularly in his second season.”
What do we look for when assessing a team’s title chances?
Firstly, a reliable man between the sticks. Thankfully no problems there. David de Gea has been a spectator for the last two games but he reminded the watching world of his unquestionable worth against Real Madrid in Macedonia.
A potent strike force? Undoubtedly. An integral aspect of any title challenge is goals from all over the pitch and we are already seeing players who struggled in front of goal last season – Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba especially – looking potent going forward.
A solid core? Potentially, I’d say. Nemanja Matic’s arrival has empowered the side’s entire shape going forward and has shielded the back four brilliantly in his first three games. Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick can step in to provide something similar throughout the campaign. But centre-back remains an issue: questions marks loom over whether Victor Lindelof can rise to the challenge this season after Mourinho noted he needed “more time” to settle in, while uncertainty surround whether Marcos Rojo can recapture the form of last season.
These two variables, in what will be a long, gruelling season, could prove to be pivotal.