Once again, the race for the top four has generated huge interest among the Premier League fans. It promises to go down to the wire this season.
There are some 10-12 games remaining (few teams have played less because of European commitments) this season, but there is a general feeling that Chelsea will walk away with the title unchallenged.
The interest therefore has shifted to the top four race, where five teams are separated by just seven points. However, if we focus on current form, the situation becomes a little less competitive. Spurs and Man City (second and third in the league respectively) have won seven of their last 10 Premier League games. Liverpool and Arsenal, on the other hand, have struggled for form and consistency.
Manchester United, sixth in the league, have done well but they have a huge task at hand in closing the gap with their rivals. Needless to say, it is among these three teams that the final Champions League spot will be decided.
The Red Devils have played two games less than fourth-placed Liverpool, and they have a great chance to go level on points, should they win their games in hand. Like United, Arsenal have also played two games less, but they will move one point ahead of Liverpool if they win those matches.
For Liverpool, the new year has been a sort of nightmare. Jurgen Klopp’s team have won only three EPL games post January. There has been an acute lack of cohesion in the side. Often the players have looked jaded and the side has consistently performed below par against mid-table or bottom placed clubs.
Arsenal are also riddled with internal problems. Their shock and humiliating defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League led fans to question Arsene Wenger’s position at the club. The Gunners have lost five games in their last eight matches and have been struggling for form as well. It’s that close.
United are undefeated in their last 17 Premier League games, and have lost only once in their last 26 matches across all competitions. The overall style of play has been hugely encouraging, and they have been a joy to watch at times. The Red Devils have created loads of chances, and have frequently dominated games, something that was missing in the Louis van Gaal era.
What has been really frustrating is that their efforts haven’t always translated into favorable results. The Red Devils have lost only once at home this season, but of their 14 games at Old Trafford, they drew seven times, more than any other side in the Premier League.
They have dropped points against Stoke, Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth, during which the Reds have produced a staggering 98 attempts on goal (including 37 against the Clarets). Their profligacy and wastefulness in front of goal have hurt them dearly. They lost eight points from those games, and if they had converted those into victories United would have been second by now.
So, what can United do from here? It is simple – when you’re behind, you can only focus on your part. United do not have any control over how Liverpool and Arsenal will fare, so, all they can do is win their games and keep putting pressure on the teams ahead of them. At the same time, they must be clever enough to seize the opportunity of leapfrogging their rivals, if and when they drop points.
Also, it is silly to expect that United will solve their scoring problems in the final 12 matches. Mourinho, being a successful manager, will take the positive out of this scenario and motivate his team by saying that they are only two wins away from breaking into the top four. Other results are not an option.
United’s recent run of form are much better than both Arsenal and Liverpool, and confidence in the team is high as well. It would be worth checking out the selection of bookmaker offers at free bet sites like bigfreebet.com, and counting on United to qualify for for the final Champions League spot doesn’t seem to be a bad idea.