Last Five Seasons
2005/06 – 2 (Premiership), 2004/05 – 3 (Premiership), 2003/04 – 3 (Premiership), 2002/03 – 1 (Premiership), 2001/02 – 3 (Premiership).
2005/06 Cup Progress
Champions League Groups Stage
FA Cup Fifth Round vs Liverpool (a) – lost 1-0.
Carling Cup Final vs Wigan Athletic (n) – won 4-0.
Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Ruud van Nistelrooy (striker) – 24 goals.
Michael Carrick (Tottenham Hotspur – £18,600,000).
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid – £10,200,000), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United – £500,000), Sylvain Ebanks-Blake (Plymouth Argyle – £200,000), Quinton Fortune (Bolton Wanderers – Free), Eddie Johnson (Bradford City – Free), Phil Picken (Chesterfield – Free), Tommy Lee (Macclesfield Town – Free), Tim Howard (Everton – Loan).
The former Premiership champions were still light years away from Chelsea last season despite finishing in second place. An overall disappointing season was brought to life in the closing stages as United won 12 of their last 16 fixtures but could not close the gap on Jose Mourinho’s side.
United may find it a tough ask to remain as the Premier League’s second best team, following the loss of top goal scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid in a £10.2 million deal and the team will miss the guaranteed 20 plus goals he provides.
Midfield was an area United struggled with last season. With no replacement for Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs was forced to fill in in central midfield and with the likes of Ji Sung Park and Ronaldo in the same side, it was an area that looked particularly lightweight compared to other sides competing at the top. Bullish forward Wayne Rooney was forced on several occasions last season to drop back to midfield and even defence to help out his struggling team mates.
Manager Alex Ferguson has tried to address this problem in the summer by recruiting Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Michael Carrick, but at an inflated transfer fee of £18.6 million. The initial fee is believed to be £13 million, with the balance dependent on the player’s appearances, international caps and overall club success. No other player created more chances last season or delivered more accurate cross field balls than Carrick so Ferguson obviously sees him as more than just the “holding” player he has become known as.
Ferguson is also keen on Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna and also sees Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer return from lengthy spells out of the game. Long serving defender Quinton Fortune has been allowed to leave for Bolton Wanderers while defensive prospect Jonathan Spector has joined West Ham United.
Only time will tell if Alex Ferguson has put all his eggs into one basket with the signing of Michael Carrick, but with both Liverpool and Arsenal making progress, United may finish as low as fourth next season.
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