Can Manchester United win four trophies this season? BestOfBets football writer Dominic Booth explores…
It’s fair to say Erik ten Hag would have been laughed out of Old Trafford if, at his first press conference after being unveiled as Manchester United boss in May last year, he proclaimed he could win a quadruple in his first season.
United were at a disturbingly low ebb at the time, having just lost meekly to Crystal Palace on the final day of the 2021/22 season. They finished sixth in the table but were closer in points to the team in 12th (Palace) than the one in fifth (Arsenal) and a whopping 35 points off the top.
“An era can come to end end,” Ten Hag said, when asked how he could possibly break up the Manchester City and Liverpool dominance of English football that had existed since 2017. He had high ideals and believed in his own management skills after a successful time at Ajax, yet few believed he could return United to the summit in such a short space of time.
Asked why he took the United job, Ten Hag said simply: “The high potential for the future – that’s why I’m here. The Premier League is the biggest league in the world I think and I’m looking forward to battling with them.”
Ten Hag has already beaten Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in one-off matches this season, but United’s success in the Carabao Cup has reaffirmed their status as trophy contenders once more, following six trophyless years in the doldrums.
Of course, the cynics rightly say that United need more than a Carabao Cup triumph – finishing a run that included wins over Aston Villa, Burnley, Charlton, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle – to truly return to English football’s top table. And Ten Hag recognises that, too.
But the fact Sunday’s victory came straight after a two-legged win over Barcelona – the runaway La Liga leaders – in Europe, and United’s current position in the Premier League table, speaks volumes about Ten Hag’s work. United are only eight points off top, as it stands, and just six off City in second with a game in hand.
Whether Ten Hag can take this rejuvenated set of players all the way in the league is doubtful, although a favourable tie in the Europa League last 16 against Real Betis opens up that competition as a real possibility for United. They’ve got West Ham at home in the FA Cup fifth round this Wednesday, too.
“We are so happy to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford but we are by no means satisfied and we will not stop here,” Ten Hag said in an open letter to his club’s fans this week.
The bookmakers aren’t convinced about United’s chances of an unlikely clean sweep, offering 150/1 for Ten Hag to scoop the league, Europa League and FA Cup to go with Sunday’s triumph.
Even a treble that includes the league is priced at 40/1, although another couple of cups to sit alongside the Carabao Cup in the cabinet is 11/1. Perhaps the most likely is one more cup victory; United are 5/2 to win the Europa League and 7/2 to grab the FA Cup. You can get 14/1 alone for them to lift the Premier League for the first time in a decade.
Ten Hag’s mindset is clear, whatever the odds: “There will be no complacency in our desire to return this club back to where we want to be.”
Manchester United do not want to be just Carabao Cup winners. But winning the first trophy available to him isn’t a bad start from Ten Hag. Eras come to an end, and new ones can start in the most unlikely ways.
United trophy odds this season:
To win the quadruple, 150/1
To win treble including the league, 40/1
To win FA Cup and Europa League, 11/1
To win Europa League, 5/2
To win FA Cup, 7/2
To win the Premier League, 14/1