We are now roughly halfway through the season and United lie in sixth position, but after the most recent games in the Premier League they are only 3 points behind Tottenham and Man City in 3rd and 4th. Thanks to Spurs beating Chelsea on Wednesday United have finally gained some ground on Jose Mourinho’s old team as they are now 10 points behind Antonio Conte’s men.
They are also behind Arsenal but by only 2 points and Liverpool by 5 points, these are two teams I fully expect them to overhaul by the end of the season for the following reasons:
Liverpool have no European football which appears to be an advantage this year but they also don’t have a large squad and, as yet, have had no real injuries or suspensions. Their squad depth will be tested now we are into the new year and they will be found wanting.
Arsenal have reached the time of the year when everything goes pear-shaped. It has already happened against Bournemouth where they were 3 goals down after an hour and were extremely fortunate to recover for a 3-3 draw. They are still in the Champion’s League but this, as usual, is likely to end in the next round when they lose to Bayern Munich. Their season will peter out having promised much but delivering, as ever, very very little.
Returning to Tottenham and their problem will be very similar to that of Liverpool except that Spurs do have the Europa League to keep them occupied during the week. Their lack of squad depth will also see them miss out on the top four.
This leaves Manchester City and Chelsea. Both have large squads and will probably improve them during the transfer window. They are both managed by men experienced in winning titles, although not in England, and both are nailed on to finish in the top four. In fact Chelsea, due to their lack of European football, should win the league quite easily. If/when they do I only hope that Antonio Conte has the good grace to thank José Mourinho for ensuring that Chelsea were not required to turn out in Europe this season.
So Chelsea first and City second which leaves United in third and avoiding having to qualify for the Champion’s League, something they may also achieve by winning the Europa League.
In fourth place will be Liverpool leaving Tottenham and Arsenal to miss out on the top four which is how it should be. One London club in the top four is one too many as it is.
Manchester United, had they been more consistent at the beginning of the season, would surely have contested first place but, because of their below average results, will have to make do with a top four finish.
Winning one of the cups will complement the achievement and leave the majority of fans pretty happy.