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Six wins but still sixth

Manchester United finished the year with the kind of incoherent performance that has had the fans a flutter this season. The 1-0 victory over Norwich required the most obliging opponents imaginable and a fair slice of luck. But the wins are coming now, and the club finish December more in expectation than in dread.

Norwich are scrambling to hold it together. Pretty this victory was not. The paperwork reads favourably, six wins on the trot and four clean sheets during that period. The problem arises when glancing at the league table. It is halfway through the season now, and United are a long way away from the hallowed ground.

With nineteen games played United have recorded ten victories and collected 34 points. At the same stage last season, United had 46 points and fifteen victories. That is a substantial difference, but it should be noted that United were not quite as lethal in the second half of the campaign last year. They only won 13 of the remaining fixtures.

If United continue to collect points at the current rate they will finish with 68 points. Last season that was enough to finish sixth, which is the position they currently reside in. To expect the team to win 18 of the remaining 19 seems a touch optimistic. Although if they did it, surely they would deserve to win the league.

A more realistic ambition would be to win 13 or 14 of the remaining games and collect, perhaps, another 40-45 points. It seems likely that a final total of 75-80 would be enough to finish in the top four, and probably the top three. Although the champions have finished with totals of 89, 89, 80 and 86 points in the past few seasons it is possible that total will be lower this time out.

The game against Norwich was a display that suggested Manchester United’s current league position of sixth is about right. If the club wish to climb the table in the new year, they will need to perform better than this. And they will need Wayne Rooney too.

There has been much hullabaloo about the qualities of Shinji Kagawa but given the opportunity to take centre stage he completely fluffed his lines. He appeared unfit and uninterested in the job at hand. Whilst some consideration must be taken into account for the cold weather and fixture congestion at Christmas, frankly, his attitude seems way off. It is a dam shame, his talent is unquestionable.

Nevertheless, it seems as if the truly dark days are behind United now. Losses to Everton and Newcastle felt catastrophic at the time but in hindsight reactions were overcooked. Both of those teams are having exceptional seasons and their victories were extremely narrow.

Six wins on the trot has sent a wave of optimism through the club. This morning Patrice Evra and Ashley Young have gone on the record talking about a title challenge. Whilst things are definitely moving in the right direction, a tilt at the top seems unlikely.

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16 Comments

  1. TKtheRED says:

    The team is simply not up to it..our midfield is as bad as it was 6-7 years ago when John O’shea and Alan smith were playing in midfield .we need to invest .City won the league two years ago and didn’t invest in the squad and they ended up winning nothing.

  2. Fletch™ says:

    Title challenge is on according to Patty Evra?! :lol:

    Love that lad. Him moving on will be a sad day.

  3. GregSylent says:

    after beating arsenal i was thinking “surely we are going to kick on from there” 5 points off the top at that time, we proceeded to draw 2 and lose 2, opening an 12 point gap at the top of the table. this 6 game winning streak have put a smile on my face, but i am not fooled. i expect this team to make it into the top 4 however the title was gone after that loss to everton. Can we make a title push, possible we can. i remember blindly hoping in 2005-2006, though chelsea was always going to win the title. Like that year the team goal should be one game at a time and putting a run together, if we do that and gather even more momentum, with a few acquisitions, in the summer, we can reclaim out title next season.
    Now i hope the lads make me look silly and win out.

  4. domunited says:

    as inconsistent as our results have been, what gives me hope is that other title contenders have had their bouts of inconsistency as well (though admittedly perhaps in lower dosages). if the team can do what United is known for (grinding out results, playing to the very very end), top might not be a goal but rather something that we have to settle for.

    all i ask is: if it’s not going to be my MUFC this year, please DON’T let it be scum or shitty.

  5. Tommy says:

    United will comforatably be top 4, infact I expect United to be into 4th by the time our next 2 league games are done and dusted, Can United win the title is the question, Yes is the answer, its not impossible to get 9 more points than any other team in the league in the 2nd half of the season, Unlikely maybe, possibly absolutely, who cares if we were not great against Norwich a win is all that matters against a well organised side at carrow road, the xmas period is never the time of year where teams will be good all of the time with the games coming thick and fast, 3 more points against the spuds, come on reds!!

  6. Dela says:

    A lot can happen in 19 games. It’s an incredible shame that we’re 8 off the top at the end of the year given the manner in which we dropped points, but thats the test they must take now. We desperately miss a free scoring RVP, and when Rooney is out of the team our creativity and threat takes a knock. the question for me is when will those two be back in the team together, consistently, because with them in the team we’re a different outfit. GIven what I’ve seen from Chelsea lately, if RvP and Rooney are in the team for our meeting at Stamford Bridge in a couple of weeks I can see us having a very realistic chance of ending that cunt’s “unbeaten home record” with chelsea in the league… that is, if the referee doesn’t save it for them again…

  7. kevk24 says:

    I am still hopefully till the point we are mathematically out. Werent Liverpool tauted as title contenders? Well, we are too and we are just 2 points away from them. It doesnt matter how many games we have lost, we still have a chance as long as the gap isnt far away.

    So many people had a bad game.

  8. Lloyd™ says:

    @Tommy well I like your optimism, but it is not as easy as that. To get to the top four after our next two games will require we claim all 6 points against spurs and Sunderland, which is not guaranteed. We can easily drop points to spurs at home on this season’s form. Even if we claim all six points. Both Liverpool and Everton will have to at least lose one of their two games. And with Everton better goal difference, they’ll have to either lose by a significant margin or we win by a significant margin ourselves, which doesn’t seem likely with all these injuries and poor goal scoring form. Liverpool are coming back from two consecutive defeats, and you’ll logically expect them to come back swinging, especially against lesser opponents. With all that considered, I think you are reaching a bit, to expect us to be in the top 4 after our next two League fixtures.

  9. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Month of truth starts TOMORROW for Moyes. He simply MUST buy aat least ONE midfielder better than all our current ones. There are many out there so this shouldn’t be too hard. Our primary priority should not be what fucking Left back to buy when we have the widest chasm on the planet in midfield. SORT THE MIDFIELD OUT FIRST then try and get your left back. What will piss me off the most is if we go ahead and spend 20 million plus pounds on fucking leighton Baines and do nothing to the midfield. NO EXCUSES. I don’t want to hear that oh the window is short and nobody wants to let go. RAISE THE OFFER THEN.

  10. Lloyd™ says:

    @ danny. I couldn’t have said it better. We are indeed entering the month of truth, not just for Moyes, but for woodward as well. No dicking about.

  11. united till i die says:

    Comparing this season to last season is apples and oranges. We dominated last season with no real challangers. This year you have 6-7 teams at the top who can beat each other on any given day which given our points total is a good thing. Nine points behind Arsenal if they don’t have any challengers would be tough but just look at their schedule in mid March when I think they play City-Chelsea-Liverpool all in a row. If we are consistent and are within 4-5 points come the end of march its anybody’s title to win. January is a massive month and if we can come away with 10 points from our 4 matches we will have a better idea of our chances. The last week in jan and first week in Feb sees a lot of the top 6-7 teams face each other.

  12. RedIndianDevil says:

    We fucked up at Old Trafford which is a big surprise. Out of 4 games against Saints, Newcastle, Everton and WBA – we collected only a single point out of possible 12. This is a big surprise because we walk over Everton and Newcastle all the time. Had we collected at least 7-8 points, situation would have been different altogether.

    Spurs is going to be a tough game even at Old Trafford. With Jones, Fellaini out, we don’t have any other options than to play Carrick-Cleverley with Carrick yet to regain full fitness. We have done well over last 3 weeks but real test starts now IMO.

  13. Tommy says:

    @Lloyd

    My thinking was if we beat Spurs and Swansea in our next 2 league games, Everton and Liverpool have both to go to Stoke, who have beaten chelsea and will be smarting after their 2 away defeats so I predict dropped points for them, We are only 3 goals short of Everton in goal difference with superior goals scored so a 3 goal swing can happen in 1 weekend

  14. united till i die says:

    Everton also play Liverpool the last week of Jan so someone’s dropping at least two points. I fully expect both Everton and Liverpool to fade away from January onwards. Neither team had the squad to continue the current form for a full season.

  15. Lloyd™ says:

    @Tommy

    Both teams very well capable of winning at Stoke, regardless of whether they beat Chelsea or not. I personally think Liverpool will get all 6 points or four at least. With their enormous goal difference compared to ours, they’ll still be above us(that is assuming we get wins against Spurs and Swansea) . Everton will probably lose to Stoke, but who is to say they won’t get a couple goals against Norwich to further increase their goal difference. I personally think the talk of top four right now is too early, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves and end up being disappointed like we’ve been most of this season. At this point we should just take it a game at a time. That’s not saying if everything turns out as you are hoping it would, I won’t be fucking delighted.

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