In a case stranger than that of Benjamin Button, Manchester United find themselves just a point behind the fourth and final champions league spot, as the Premier League season turns into the final stretch.
|Louis Van Gaal has been in tremendous criticism|
Watching them against Manchester City in the 171st Manchester Derby, it was hard to believe that they were outside the top four. A disciplined defense, a well-oiled midfield keeping the supply lines to City's danger man Sergio Aguero relatively dry, and a lethal attacking trio, who showed maturity beyond their tender age. All in all United looked a side who should be comfortably in the top 4 and making challenges towards the Title. And it hasn't been much different against most of the top teams. The only team in the top 7 to have beaten United are Arsenal, in a 3-0 embarrassment at the Emirates. Surprisingly perhaps, United have picked up points against every single of the top 7 members, and lead the points table when it comes to 'points against top half opponents'.
They beat Liverpool comprehensively both at home and away, thanks to a debut Wonder goal from Anthony Martial at Old Trafford, and a late volley from Captain Wayne Rooney at Anfield. They have won at Tottenham, drawn at the King Power, beaten Arsenal at Old Trafford, drawn with West Ham, and taken 4 points off Manchester City. Watching United play in the big games this season has indeed been a rare
|Credits : SkySports|
And that is where it has all gone wrong. While United have dazzled against "The Big Boys", they have failed to build any kind of momentum against the regular and bottom half teams. They have had shocking losses against Sunderland and Bournemouth, drawn both games with hapless Newcastle and lost to Swansea. There awful away form has put them in the bottom half of the away points table, managing just 4 points from the last 5 away outings.
They have struggled to break down the dogged away teams from the bottom half at Old Trafford, and have at times been stunned by unexpected goals, most recently at West Brom.
|Lingard's screamer against West Brom in United's 2-0 victory.|
Despite their shortcomings and fragility, United are definitely still in the hunt for a Champions League spot, but with games coming up thick and fast, with back to back games against Everton (United won their game against Everton 1-0) and Tottenham, Louis Van Gaal needs to sort out the uncertainty in the team.
This Manchester United team has produced dazzling pieces of magic, which has only highlighted the prolonged periods of drab football which their fans have had to endure.The mark of a Title winning team has always been grinding out the difficult results, and unfortunately United still lack the steel and resolve of yesteryears which made them stand out in any football field
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
A passionate football fan and a die hard Manchester United fan for a decade, this dog lover and foodie has the ambition of becoming a doctor. With the motto of making, "the world believe the power of words", Debadrit sure knows how to wield his pen as effectively as his stethoscope.