Man United rode their luck to qualify for the Champions League at the last minute after beating crippled Leicester 2:0 away in the final round. The Red Devils will thank their unbeaten run from January onwards (W9 D5), which coincided with the winter signing of Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese was the star of the Premier League in 2020 and single-handedly dragged United into the top 3.
Another major factor for this surprising high finish was the seemingly pronounced support given by the officials with 14 penalties awarded in United’s favour and many other controversial decisions benefiting the Red Devils. No wonder from January onwards the term ‘VARchester United’ became popular.
The strength shown in direct clashes vs rivals was crucial too. Wins in both Manchester derbies, 2 wins vs Chelsea and 4 points from 2 games vs Tottenham showed that on a good day United can cause problems to anyone.
Defensively things remained shaky though, with Maguire struggling at times and De Gea having a second consecutive troubled season with many individual errors. Until Bruno’s signing in January the forward line were poor. However, after his arrival things improved in that area. Revitalised Martial, Rashford and Greenwood all finished the season in good form.
United can’t rely on luck and help from the officials again in 2020/21. It's also not certain that Bruno will remain as effective with rivals having much more data to analyse him. With that in mind, only at least 3-4 high-profile new signings may allow United to remain top 4 contenders next season.