Unfortunately the draw curse continued this past weekend at Old Trafford even though United came from an early goal down to tie West Ham with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the equaliser and now sit 11 points behind leaders Chelsea. Sadly for the Red-Devils they could not go on to get the winner against the Hammers on the weekend and ended up with their 4th draw in their past 6 League games as Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands again and has another one game touchline ban as he had to deal with the FA to answer charges of improper conduct.
United started the season as second favourites to win the league after they brought in Jose Mourinho as manager, broke the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba invested heavily in others and recruited Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Only Man City had shorter preseason betting odds, but Man Utd’s start to the season has been slightly mediocre. They have won fewer than half their matches, and are only a point above Everton with 13 games gone. That has seen the betting odds on them winning the Premiership go all the way out to 29.00 with Bet365, leaving them sixth favourites behind Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. For Premier League fans that means one thing: value free bets across sports betting platforms.
Many in the media are speculating that Mourinho has lost his magic touch. He was sacked as Chelsea boss last season, just months after winning his third Premiership title, as the Blues were hovering just above the relegation zone following a miserable start to the campaign. His Man Utd were beaten 4-0 by a resurgent Chelsea this season, while they have also lost to Man City and failed to beat Arsenal and Liverpool. Some are saying he is yesterday’s manager and has been left behind by the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pocchetino and Pep Guardiola.
That is unfair on a manager as successful as Mourinho and the Portuguese boss will likely have the last laugh as his record speaks for itself. His team stifled Liverpool expertly and he is regularly able to secure results using disciplined defensive displays and his team deserve to be better off than they are as they would be in the top 4 had they won the games against Arsenal, Burnley, Stoke City and West Ham which they deserved to. They also dominated Arsenal and have shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season. A lot of the time he has been let down by his players. Pogba has not had the impact of someone deserving of such a fee, Ibrahimovic had a barren spell in front of goal after a good start to his United career but has rebounded lately as has Wayne Rooney who was starting to look like his best days could be behind him. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been a disappointment overall but has been improving significantly lately and had a hand in 2 goals as United beat West Ham last night as he was named man-of-the-match by Sky Sports. Anthony Martial is another to fail to live up to his transfer fee so far this season but managed to turn in a match winning performance in the EFL Cup with a fine brace so maybe his form has changed for the better too as he looked sharp against the Hammers. United beat West Ham 4-1 to reach the EFL Cup semifinals last night and the feel good factor seemed to be back at Old Trafford plus it was great to see Bastian Schweinsteiger make his first appearance since March for the club and he got a rousing reception and even came close to scoring.
Zlatan scored 2 goals last night and looks to be flying again plus David De Gea, Chris Smalling and Pogba look like they could get into most sides in the league, while there are some talented youngsters in Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera, and Juan Mata has been playing very well. United have a semi-final to look forward to against Hull City with Wembley the prize for the winner over two legs.
It looks as though the league title may be beyond United this season after dropping many early season points but a constistent winning run in the League could change that but in the meantime thoughts turn to the cups. Mourinho, a double Champions League winner, may consider the Europa League beneath him, but Man Utd are 7.00 favourites in the betting odds, and winning that would please fans plus they would qualify for next season’s Champions League. They knocked Man City out of the EFL Cup earlier in the season, gained revenge over the Hammers last night to reach the semi-finals and are 4.00 second favourites to win it as it is a great chance at a trophy in a tournament Jose has won many times, plus they are third favourites for the FA Cup. United can stifle anyone on their day and they look to be back scoring goals again, so they may yet end the season with more than one piece of silverware.