The Premier League saw another uncharacteristic twist this weekend as both Arsenal and Manchester United drew games that they were expected to win. Such games have become commonplace this season, with Chelsea and particularly Liverpool also frequently dropping points nobody expected. Can United take the initiative in the next month?
In recent times, the Premier League winners have finished the season with points in the high 80s. Arsenal, Chelsea and United have even managed to gain more than 90 in four of the last six seasons. It appears it won’t be the case this term.
As we settle into 2010 though, Sir Alex Ferguson must be aware that one of the top three teams is going to take the initiative and string a series of wins together. Will it be United?
Arsenal faces a challenging run of games in the next month, which will see Arsène Wenger’s team play Aston Villa, United, Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League. If the Londoners come out of that run with nine points or more, the Frenchman will fancy his side’s chances in the title race. Whether Arsenal has the strength in depth to do so without Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Eboué and Alexandre Song over the next few weeks is questionable.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s run is a touch easier, with home games against Birmingham City and Sunderland followed by away ties with Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers. And while Chelsea must still contend with Arsenal, the fixture will be played at Stamford Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti will certainly look to gain an advantage in the Premier League race given that relatively easy run. But as is been the way this season, time and again the so called ‘lesser teams’ look hard to beat.
United has a mixed run in the next month, with manageable home games at Burnley, Hull City and Portsmouth bracketing a massive game at the Emirates and ties in both the Carling Cup and Champions League.
With the cup ties in mind, it is likely that Fergie will rest key players in the team’s home Premier League matches, given the opponents. But with points already dropped against the lesser lights, it is absolutely essential that Ferguson’s side take maximum points from home ties against teams which – as Burnley showed in August – are no push-overs.
The next four games could be absolutely key come the end of the season and there is certainly reason for United fans to be optimistic. Although the team is far from its imperious best, a good performance at the Emirates and an improved success rate against the ‘smaller’ Premier League teams this month could see Ferguson’s side take a decisive advantage.
The time for United to hit top form is now, when building momentum is so important. And the timely return of players such as Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves in the next month could carry the side through to May and a record fourth consecutive Premier League trophy.
Of course, the celebrations will have to be cut short to prepare for the third consecutive Champions League final, played just days later. We can but live in hope…
5 thoughts on “Getting down to business”
Man United have started going down the Leeds slide. Having to sell their best players to balance the books, even while winning trophis and reaching lucrative finals, is setting alarm bells off. Winning the title and appearing in two cup finals should enable teams to invest in the squad but if Ferguson had not sold Ronaldo his club would have lost 31 MILLION POUNDS last season. That is not sustainable. Who will they have to sell this year if they fail to defend their title (on current form you wouldn’t bet on them to do so).
Morning.. As a gooner I can’t help but notice the doom mongery in the first post.. Comparing Utd to Leeds is absolutely ridiculous. I understand that the financial side of the game has become a huge issue even for the big four, but Utd have such a rich history and such huge worldwide support that they will never, and I mean never, be forced to go down the route of Leeds..
Selling to the Glazers was a huge mistake but almost unavoidable at the time, and results on the pitch have barely been affected.. lots of that is down to Fergie, but a club of Utds stature will always be challenging on all fronts, even with a second string side.
Chelsea without Abramovich writing off their losses would be in huge debt.. Liverpool already are in huge debt.. Utd are struggling but have investors circling who will always be willing to splash the cash in times of need. Arsenal are financially pretty stable but havent been close to silverware in nearly 5 years now.
Had Nani stepped up (obviously he is of weak character), the loss of Ronaldo would have been far less impactful. Had Rio and Hargreaves been fit it could have looked very different. Anyway.. the title race is shaping up nicely.. As long as the Chavs, or your neighbours don’t win it, I’ll sleep well at night. Personally, I don’t think Utd have that extra spark needed to do it this year, but I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the season.. ( bar the Emirates game!)
Huge Gooner here.
Interesting to read about UTD. and their financial situation. I am constantly berating fellow Gooners who have said that Wenger must spend to win and saying that our relative financial stability will allow us to spend on the right players when the time is right.
UTD have been the dominant Premier League team and wonder how UTD fans see this “predicament” that they are facing and do they think it will hinder UTD’s success in future years.
On the other hand, fuck the finances and lets enjoy what is a truly tight title race this year.
I’m with you redandread!! I’m more depressed we’re not running away with the league.
I’m getting really bored of this debt talk. I’m sure we made a £21.3m loss last year but no-one really mentioned it. Yes we have debts but if this bond loan works it will go a long way in sorting the major PIK loans which is the real pain in the bum.
I think the transfer money is there to buy one world class signing but who? Imagine if we’d bought Ribery in the summer for the price that was quoted, I think it was £70m. He’s only played 4 games this year due to 4 different injuries, not the best return. Or if Fergie carried on bidding for that French bloke, Benzema, who wanted to go to Madrid. He’s having an awful start to the campaign in Spain.
I’m more exciting to see this Diouf lad progress and do well. Like Arsenal and ourselves I love to see youngsters come through and make it.
Speaking of Arsenal, I do miss the rivalry between the two sides when it was just the two of us fighting for the league. Will always hate the gooners, but deep down admire the way they play.
Goodtobeagooner had a great comment there. He said something that seems to lack in some of the more alarmists United fans. Where are Manchester United, never forget that.
We seem in a financial trouble, but there are some ways to get away from it. Don’t think that the Glazers (even with all the anger we have for them) are financially stupid. They are business men, they got to act with reason and that conflicts with our feelings in a number of times. But they won’t bankrupt a club like us, they’d have to really be dumb and stupid to achieve that.
In a huge institution, club, family or religion like United is, there will always be someone to invest. We’ve been through worst, and yet here we are. The greatest club in the world. The largest fan base globally. The most successful team in England in the last 20 years, and one of the greatest in Europe.
Remember: WE WILL NEVER DIE.