2013 was the last time Man Utd won the league but their recent form suggests the drought could be over and to commemorate the 8 years which have passed i have listed 8 reasons why it’s their season:
1 – Paul Pogba
It’s now or never for him, his contract runs out next summer, he and his agent have made noises Re him leaving and the club would rather cash in on him this summer. What better way to sign off but with a league winners medal? This spell at the club has been very underwhelming (his 1st spell non existent) but the last few months he has played near to his ability. The talent is there and if his form continues he will no doubt win a player of the month accolade which in hand would mean Utd have won more games.
2 – Squad Depth
Covid fatigue and injuries due to the volume of games is already biting teams but will come more prevalent as the season flows. Liverpool are short in defence and it can be argued bar their top 14 players at any time the squad is bare. City are stock piled for creative players but lack goal scoring talent and their defence is picked by whom is flavour of the month. Man U are stacked in every position, Van De Beek barely gets any minutes currently and he would be a 1st choice for any other team in the league. The depth and diverse skill set of the squad means Ole can play a side to deal with the battle in question, defensive performance play McTominay & Matic in centre mid, need to go for it play Pogba, Van De Beek & Fernandes.
3 – No fans in stadia
Away teams performances at Old Trafford over the years have been strong, this is due to the weak team Utd had become but also as the fans got on the backs of players quite early in matches. When Man U play away its still one of the must see matches for home fans, the tempo and hostility led by the crowd uplifts the players to performances they may not usually be capable of. Both those factors are eradicated this season, the team can just play their way.
4 – VAR/Penalties
The general consensus is that Utd benefit from VAR more than others, this is not the case, so far this season they sit at 0 VAR difference, teams like Sheff Utd (2) & Everton (3) have benefited more. Winning penalties from officials though is their forte, they are 2nd in the table (Leicester way in front with 10) but they have won 6 pens scoring 5 of them. No doubt players like Fernandes & Pogba are very clever and cute looking for fouls in and around the box but Utd like Leicester possess players with elite pace (Rashford & Martial) which can lead to fouls due to the acceleration from the defenders tackles. If you take into consideration 17 games have been played and Utd have scored 5 pens, if they transferred into 1 nil wins then a 1/3 of their games have been won from a spot kick!
5 – Top of the League
As we speak Utd are top of the league, if they carry on winning or matching their rivals points haul till the end they will win the league, it’s in their hands.
6 – Ole IS driving the bus
Now Pochettino has taken over PSG, the talk about his Ole’s future will die down for a while as their is no real candidate out there for the job. Names can be mentioned and for sure they are more qualified compared to Ole’s CV but if they are out of work now, why is that? OGS has the clubs best interest at heart, managing all those ego’s will not be easy but he played within a Man U squad which had better players and much larger egos! I have no doubt he has leaned on his football contacts for advice and that will include Sir Alex Ferguson, once it comes to squeaky bum time he will hold one of the most illustrious contact trees to help push them through.
7 – Fixture List
Reviewing the remaining games Utd have the run in is very kind, the largest bulk of troublesome games occurs at the end of Feb/start of March when they play Chelsea (away) & Man City (away). Breaking down into 3 match spells which many teams do it looks like this:
- Liverpool (A), Fulham (A) & Sheff Utd (H)
- Arsenal (A), Southampton (H) & Everton (H)
- WBA (A), Newcastle (H) & Chelsea (A)
- Man City (A), W Ham (H) & Palace (A)
- Brighton (H), Spurs (A) & Burnley (H)
- Leeds (A), Liverpool (H) & Villa (A)
- Leicester (H), Fulham (H) & Wolves (A)
Most brackets above should deliver 7 points especially the 1st one, which as a statement of intent should be a 9 point haul which will take down one of their rivals and hated neighbours.
8 – Bruno Fernandes
The transfer deal of 2020 by a long way, £49.5m upfront is a steal in the football transfer world considering his impact on joining, 19 goals and 14 assists in the Premier League alone is magnificent. Considering £71m was Kepes cost 3 years ago, Bruno is a bargain! Reviewing his career so far he is over achieving and can this form continue is up for a debate but his influence on the pitch is up there with Cantona when he led the club to its first title in years back in 1993. His most endearing trait to me is the way he imposes himself to a match, he makes things happen his brave taken the ball on in tight spots and tries passes others may shy away from.
This Sunday will not decide the title destination but it will be a large marker for both teams, fingers crossed the match lives up to the hype and billing this fixture holds.
featured image credit sky sports