Manchester United have somewhat lost their identity since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, but there are at least some small rays of hope at Old Trafford this season.

Three signings who have stepped up to the task - Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire - have improved United in areas which they were weakest last term, but they are still missing that feel-good factor of times gone by.

They find themselves seventh in the table after 12 games, and nine points behind local rivals ​Manchester City in fourth place. However, they seem to have turned a corner since the beginning of the season, drawing against Liverpool and Arsenal, while taking three points from Leicester.

There have certainly been positives to take away from Old Trafford so far this season, but just as many negatives too. Here's an overview of how it's going.

Positive: Faith in Youth

Scott McTominay

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given the likes of Scott McTominay, Wan-Bissaka, James and Marcus Rashford roles of responsibility this season, and depends on their quality time and time again. 

The common factor here? They are all 22 or younger - showing that ​United have a model, and glimpses of what is to come have been showcased already.

Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood have all made cameos, and have looked right at home. Greenwood has scored twice in the Europa League and once in the EFL Cup, while calls for Williams to start over the injured Luke Shaw and Ashley Young have started too. 

It may not be long until a new academy prospect breaks into the first team, either. A chance for Tahith Chong to shine next, perhaps?

Positive: The Wall

Harry Maguire

United had conceded 20 goals at this stage last season, but only 12 so far this time around.

The signing of Harry Maguire has a huge part to play in this sudden upturn in defensive solidity, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been very good on the whole too. Considering that United ended last season shipping 54 goals, they seem to have sorted the issue effectively, and are building something better.

With younger talent like Williams coming through, United have the makings for a solid defence once again. And while he's treaded the line at times, ​Maguire seems to have dealt well enough with his hefty £80m price tag.

Negative: The Lack of Creativity


Despite turning their form around, there is still a worrying lack of creativity in this United side. 

They have scored 16 goals in 12 games this term, which is nowhere near enough if they want to challenge for the top four. Andreas Pereira, McTominay and ​Jesse Lingard have not proven themselves creative enough to carry United back to the top, so work needs to be done and signings need to be made.

The difference between a top four side and Manchester United is a creative midfielder. Whether they go and get one in January is up in the air at the moment.

Negative: Too Much Deadwood

Marcos Rojo

Although United clearly have a transfer vision moving forward, they have failed to get rid of the all of their deadwood. 

Players such as Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young are still in the squad, and while there's a good chance the latter may leave in the summer, the work remains for Ole to complete the squad makeover. 

The likes of Chris Smalling and Alexis Sanchez are still on the books too, even while out on loan at the moment, so we're still in the early stages of what will be a long process of taking United back towards the top.