Watching Manchester United draw 2-2 with Porto this week, with their sluggish runs and sloppy passing, it was clear something needed to change, and fast! We’d got away with it against Aston Villa, with Martin O’Neill’s side not having the bottle to finish us off, but when Porto scored their late equaliser against us two days later, there could be no complaints from our fans.

Before we rip the team to shreds, it is important to note that following a week of International duty, where 14 of our players were drafted out all around the World, our team had just one day off between Villa at 4pm on Sunday before Porto on Tuesday evening. It was a gamble to leave us with just one day’s rest but it was a gamble that I believe paid off. Given we needed two goals in the last ten minutes to beat Villa, it’s hard to imagine how our players would have had the legs for this had we played a day earlier.

However, if we’re being honest, it wasn’t just Porto or Liverpool where we’ve looked off the boil. I would argue that all season we’ve fallen short of the expectations we have for the quality of football desired at our club. We did a good job in the two legs against the best team in Italy, our FA Cup performance against Fulham was pretty decent, but before that, it was probably our 3-0 demolition of Chelsea at the start of the year.

We’ve still got a game in hand and have been playing catch up thanks to our trip to Japan for the FIFA World Club Cup. Is the tiredness that trip caused a good enough excuse for our football at the moment though?

Comparing the number of matches played since December between the top four, taking in to consideration all competitions and replays, there isn’t a great deal of difference.


Liverpool 0-0 West Ham 01-12-2008
Blackburn 1-3 Liverpool 06-12-2008
PSV Eindhoven 1-3 Liverpool 09-12-2008
Liverpool 2-2 Hull 13-12-2008
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool 21-12-2008
Liverpool 3-0 Bolton 26-12-2008
Newcastle 1-5 Liverpool 28-12-2008
Preston 0-2 Liverpool 03-01-2009
Stoke 0-0 Liverpool 10-01-2009
Liverpool 1-1 Everton 19-01-2009
Liverpool 1-1 Everton 25-01-2009
Wigan 1-1 Liverpool 28-01-2009
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea 01-02-2009
Everton 1-0 Liverpool 04-02-2009
Portsmouth 2-3 Liverpool 07-02-2009
Liverpool 1-1 Man City 22-02-2009
Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool 25-02-2009
Middlesbro 2-0 Liverpool 28-02-2009
Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland 03-03-2009
Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid 10-03-2009
Man Utd 1-4 Liverpool 14-03-2009
Liverpool 5-0 Aston Villa 22-03-2009
Fulham 0-1 Liverpool 04-04-2009
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea 08-04-2009


Bolton 0-2 Chelsea 06-12-2008
Chelsea 2-1 CFR Cluj 09-12-2008
Chelsea 1-1 West Ham 14-12-2008
Everton 0-0 Chelsea 22-12-2008
Chelsea 2-0 West Brom 26-12-2008
Fulham 2-2 Chelsea 28-12-2008
Chelsea 1-1 Southend 03-01-2009
Man Utd 3-0 Chelsea 11-01-2009
Southend 1-4 Chelsea 14-01-2009
Chelsea 2-1 Stoke 17-01-2009
Chelsea 3-1 Ipswich 24-01-2009
Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbro 28-01-2009
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea 01-02-2009
Chelsea 0-0 Hull 07-02-2009
Watford 1-3 Chelsea 14-02-2009
Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea 21-02-2009
Chelsea 1-0 Juventus 25-02-2009
Chelsea 2-1 Wigan 28-02-2009
Portsmouth 0-1 Chelsea 03-03-2009
Coventry 0-2 Chelsea 07-03-2009
Juventus 2-2 Chelsea 10-03-2009
Chelsea 1-0 Man City 15-03-2009
Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea 21-03-2009
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea 04-04-2009
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea 08-04-2009


Burnley 2-0 Arsenal 02-12-2008
Arsenal 1-0 Wigan 06-12-2008
Porto 2-0 Arsenal 10-12-2008
Middlesbro 1-1 Arsenal 13-12-2008
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool 21-12-2008
Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal 26-12-2008
Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth 28-12-2008
Arsenal 3-1 Plymouth 03-01-2009
Arsenal 1-0 Bolton 10-01-2009
Hull 1-3 Arsenal 17-01-2009
Cardiff 0-0 Arsenal 25-01-2009
Everton 1-1 Arsenal 28-01-2009
Arsenal 0-0 West Ham 31-01-2009
Tottenham 0-0 Arsenal 08-02-2009
Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff 16-02-2009
Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland 21-02-2009
Arsenal 1-0 Roma 24-02-2009
Arsenal 0-0 Fulham 28-02-2009
West Brom 1-3 Arsenal 03-03-2009
Arsenal 3-0 Burnley 08-03-2009
Roma 1-0 Arsenal 11-03-2009
Arsenal 4-0 Blackburn 14-03-2009
Arsenal 2-1 Hull 17-03-2009
Newcastle 1-3 Arsenal 21-03-2009
Arsenal 2-0 Man City 04-04-2009
Villarreal 1-1 Arsenal 07-04-2009


Man Utd 5-3 Blackburn 03-12-2008
Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland 06-12-2008
Man Utd 2-2 Aalborg 10-12-2008
Tottenham 0-0 Man Utd 13-12-2008
Gamba Osaka 3-5 Man Utd 18-12-2008
Man Utd 1-0 LDU Quito 21-12-2008
Stoke 0-1 Man Utd 26-12-2008
Man Utd 1-0 Middlesbro 29-12-2008
Southampton 0-3 Man Utd 04-01-2009
Derby 1-0 Man Utd 07-01-2009
Man Utd 3-0 Chelsea 11-01-2009
Man Utd 1-0 Wigan 14-01-2009
Bolton 0-1 Man Utd 17-01-2009
Man Utd 4-2 Derby 20-01-2009
Man Utd 2-1 Tottenham 24-01-2009
West Brom 0-5 Man Utd 27-01-2009
Man Utd 1-0 Everton 31-01-2009
West Ham 0-1 Man Utd 08-02-2009
Derby 1-4 Man Utd 15-02-2009
Man Utd 3-0 Fulham 18-02-2009
Man Utd 2-1 Blackburn 21-02-2009
Inter 0-0 Man Utd 24-02-2009
Man Utd 0-0 Tottenham 01-03-2009
Newcastle 1-2 Man Utd 04-03-2009
Fulham 0-4 Man Utd 07-03-2009
Man Utd 2-0 Inter 11-03-2009
Man Utd 1-4 Liverpool 14-03-2009
Fulham 2-0 Man Utd 21-03-2009
Man Utd 3-2 Aston Villa 05-04-2009
Man Utd 2-2 Porto 07-04-2009

All teams are still in the Champions League, with Chelsea in the best position, followed by Arsenal, then United, and lastly Liverpool.

Three of the teams are still in the FA Cup, with United playing Everton in the semi-final next Sunday, whilst Arsenal and Chelsea will battle it out.

Chelsea and Liverpool were knocked out of the League Cup at the fourth round, Arsenal were beaten by Burnley in the fifth round, with United going on to beat Tottenham Hotspur in the final on penalties.

Whilst all teams are still mathematically in with a chance of the title, it is surely only between United, Liverpool and Chelsea now, with Arsenal ten points behind United, having played a game more. United are still regarded as favourites for the title but who will give us the toughest fight is still up for debate. Over the past few weeks the clear answer seemed to be Liverpool, however after last night’s humiliating 3-1 home defeat against Chelsea, all eyes will be on how the scousers respond. The FSW has shown his vulnerable side, gabbing off nonsense to the press again in the days leading up to his team’s crucial game against Chelsea, meaning the pressure is certainly on for their next Premiership game. If they drop points, then it’s all to play for. Personally, I’d fancy a team lead by Hiddink over a team managed by Benitez to cause us more problems.

Essentially though, there’s no way we can blame the crowded fixtures for our performances at the moment. We have a deep squad which is full of quality players and there’s no excuse for not being able to pass to your team-mate five yards away, which seems to be something that gets the better of our players at the moment!

However, it’s nice to see that in the four games more than Arsenal, the five games more than Chelsea, and the six games more than Liverpool, we’ve lifted two more trophies already. My expectations for the season finish with the Premier League though. Whilst the press is keen to talk about the “quintuple”, I’d consider 08-09 a successful season with a league title, League Cup, and World Club Cup. With the Champions League surely belonging to Barcelona, I wouldn’t rule us out of adding the FA Cup to the collection, although given our recent FA Cup final outings against Chelsea and Arsenal, there’s no point getting cocky!

With just eight games left in the league, it has to be onwards and upwards for United, but our fixtures cannot be blamed if the lads don’t manage to pull it off.