Antony at Mock Man United: The results were incredible under Ten Hag

Manchester United are targeting five transfers in this summer’s transfer window as Erik ten Hag prepares for his first season as manager of the club.

The Manchester Evening News understands that United are eyeing a flexible striker this summer, ideally Ajax striker Antony, who played with Ten Hag last season. The 22-year-old scored eight goals and recorded four assists in 21 league games for the Dutch outfit last season, and the Brazilian’s impressive performances from the right of attack drew admirers from across Europe.

It is also understood that, despite Barcelona demanding around £85m, United are making progress in transfer negotiations for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who also played for Ten Hag at Ajax before moving to Spain.

READ MORE: Manchester United could already have their first disagreement with Erik ten Hag

So if Antony were to move to United in the summer, what kind of impact could he have at Old Trafford? Could the Brazilian winger help United win a trophy next season? We simulated the 2022/23 season with Antony in the United squad and this is what happened.

We ‘signed’ Antony for Manchester United in the summer transfer window

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to have Antony join United and Ten Hag become United manager at the start of the 2022/23 season, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is what Antony’s in-game profile looks like in FM22.

Antony's game profile in Football Manager 2022.
Antony’s game profile in Football Manager 2022.

At just 22 years old, there is plenty of time for Antony to become one of the deadliest wingers in Europe. His profile highlights how complete he is with great dribbling (16), first touch (16), technique (16), style (16) and agility (16).

The Brazilian stands out for his technical ability and usually shoots from the right wing towards the inside with his left foot to create chances or score goals. So how did Antony perform for United in his debut season at Old Trafford?

Antony's statistics in all competitions with Manchester United in the 2022/23 season.
Antony’s statistics in all competitions with Manchester United in the 2022/23 season.

Antony had a stellar debut season for United, scoring 15 goals and recording eight assists in 48 appearances in all competitions. The Brazilian’s 23 goals made him the club’s fourth most productive player, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (34), Bruno Fernandes (29) and Jadon Sancho (28).

Antony averaged a 7.39 match rating in all competitions, highlighting how consistent and brilliant his performances were for the Reds throughout the season. The winger was ranked as the club’s fifth best player, with only Ronaldo (7.67), Fernandes (7.59), Sancho (7.44) and Maguire (7.40) ranking highest in terms of rating. match average.

At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 assembled the best overall Manchester United XI, based on performance, stats and other metrics. This is what United’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022.

Manchester United's best XI in the 2022/23 season with Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United’s best XI in the 2022/23 season with Erik ten Hag.

Full XI of the best United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Almada, McTominay; Antonio, Fernandez, Sancho; Ronaldo.

Erik ten Hag reverted to his favored 4-2-3-1 formation with Antony on the right flank, moving Sancho to the left, with Marcus Rashford dropping to the substitutes’ bench. Thiago Almada came on and replaced Fred in the starting lineup alongside Scott McTominay in defensive midfield.

So how did United fare in the Premier League and cup competitions with Antony in the team? We’ll see.

Manchester United performance in all competitions

Manchester United finished fourth in the Premier League.
Manchester United finished fourth in the Premier League.

United finished fourth in Ten Hag’s debut season, comfortably qualifying for the Champions League after missing the 2021/22 season. Antony’s performances helped United close the gap to Chelsea, but the Reds remained a good distance from catching up with Liverpool and Man City.

United had the third-best attacking record in the Premier League, but their defensive weaknesses let them down as they conceded the most goals (46) in the top four. Compared to the 2020/21 season, United finished two positions lower and with a worse goal difference of -2, but with one more win (24 of 38 games).

Manchester United performances in all cup competitions.
Manchester United performances in all cup competitions.

In cup competitions, United achieved success in the Europa League, beating Porto 3-1 in the final to lift their first silverware since lifting the same trophy in 2017. Domestically, United disappointed in the Carabao Cup after exiting the competition in the third round following a 3–2 loss to Leeds, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup fifth round after losing to Man City on penalties.

Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if United were to sign Antony before the 2022/23 season, the Brazilian could become a key player for the Reds under Ten Hag, scoring 15 goals and registering eight assists in his season. debut. Antony’s performances could help United qualify for the Champions League in the Premier League and help them win the Europa League, their first trophy in six years. But, the simulation also shows that United may have to improve defensively if they want to challenge for the Premier League title.

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