With Manchester United every season is like a win or bust season. Fans demand nothing less than winning the Premier League title and a mere top 4 finish is always considered as an average performance.
In the last 3 seasons, the Red Devils have finished 5th, 6th and 2nd respectively. The 2018-19 season however is going to be extremely tricky, and winning the League is nothing short of an over-expectation.
The Manchester United faithful will love to see Jose Mourinho's men lift the trophy, but with 5 days left for the season to start - it seems highly unlikely.
Manchester United last won the Premier League in 2013, and here are 3 reasons why the 2018-19 won't be the year of Manchester United.
#1 The pressure is getting the better of Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has been in the headlines recently, and not for the right reasons. A disastrous pre-season saw Jose Mourinho taking a dig at other teams, their managers, his own players, and even the fans.
Third time's the charm has never been applicable to Mourinho. In fact, throughout his managerial career, the third season with a club has been a curse as he has either quit or has been sacked by multiple clubs. All roads seem to be heading in the same direction for The Special One.
With a bad pre-season, Jose Mourinho looks clueless as to what his backup plan is in the absence of his star players. Players like Lukaku and Paul Pogba were unavailable during the pre-season friendlies, but he could've dealt with his troops a lot better.
The EPL stretches over 6 months, and it is crucial that every team hoping to win the title has a backup plan ready if the key-men get injured. Firing shots at young Anthony Martial didn't help the cause with reports saying the French international is set to move away from Old Trafford.
Bookies in England truly believe in the third season curse - putting him below just the Foxes’ Claude Puel and Rafa Benitez of Newcastle as the manager with the third best odds to be sacked during the new season.
It's looking like Mourinho is cracking under pressure. Or is this some kind of classic Jose Mourinho mind game?
#2 Shocking defensive crisis
With the likes of Pogba, Sanchez, Mata and Fred - Manchester United has one of the strongest midfields in the world, and have the best goalkeeper in the League - De Gea. The problem is the defense.
It looks like Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will start as full-backs. With a combined age of 66, there are legitimate questions about how long they will be able to play at their peak. Luke Shaw can start at left back, but it is clear that Mourinho has certain issues with Englishmen.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones started for much of last season, but Mourinho cannot ignore Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly. There is no real combination that Jose fancies, and this is a recipe for disaster.
Manchester United have been targeting Harry Maguire with a world record bid, but the star player for England returned to Leicester training just days before the 2 teams face off at Old Trafford.
Having dropped their interest in Barcelona powerhouse Yerry Mina because of his agent's financial demands, reports claim they are closing in on Toby Alderweireld.
With all the speculation circling, and no concrete solution to their defensive woes, Manchester United stand little chance of challenging Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title.
#3 Manchester City and Liverpool look better prepared
Manchester City finished the League with 100 points last season, and it is improbable that we will see them play at the same level this season as well, but Pep Guardiola and his men look fresh and ready to dominate the League once again.
City have an explosive team with Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan. If that isn't enough, Riyad Mahrez will be donning the Manchester City jersey this season.
The arrival of Mahrez makes one thing very clear - Pep Guardiola and Manchester City do not want to lose their competitive edge, and will leave no stone upturned to win the title back to back.
Jurgen Klopp addressed the major issues regarding a goalkeeper and squad depth. Naby Keita, Fabinho, Shaqiri and Alisson made their debuts in pre-season friendlies. Emre Can moved away from Anfield - and Klopp signed Fabinho as a direct replacement.
Karius and Mignolet were under-performing and Klopp signed Alisson. The attitude is perfect - to solve all the issues and build something better. Van Dijk has also solidified the defense, and Liverpool finally look like they're ready to win the title. Salah, Firmino and Mane will lead the charge.
As for Manchester United, the 1-0 defeat against Bayern Munich sums up their miserable pre-season, as Jose Mourinho couldn't rally his troops without Lukaku and Pogba.
The Manchester United team looks lethargic and far from ready to start their Premier League campaign in 4 days. There are multiple reports which say that Paul Pogba is seeking an Old Trafford exit after falling out with Jose Mourinho. This could very well be the last nail in the coffin for the Red Devils.