The Premier League so far this season has been as unpredictable as many fans would have been hoping for. The battle to avoid relegation has been pulsating, while teams hoping to finish in the top-four have also been putting a run of results together. However, one side that has been flying under the radar so far this season has been Manchester United, and the Red Devils could be one of the dark horses to win the Premier League title. But, are they genuine title contenders?
Could United Challenge Liverpool?
It has been a strange season for United, as they were written off by many before the season even began. Despite being in third place and behind Liverpool by five points with a game in hand, there are still questions surrounding the long-term future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It almost seems bizarre that the pressure remains, as this is the closest that United have been to the top of the league at Christmas since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
There is no doubt that United are a genuine challenger when you study the quality of their attacking players. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford scored 23 and 22 goals respectively last season, while Bruno Fernandes chipped in with 12 despite only being brought in during the winter window. Martial’s form has dipped slightly this season, but the arrival of Edinson Cavani has ensured that the void has been filled. Fernandes and Rashford remain prominent scorers for United, as they have scored 13 and 12 respectively this season, with Fernandes also being the fifth-highest scorer in the league this season.
United have gone under the radar since last month, as they have won six from seven league games and while the performances haven’t been exceptional for the most part, the points have steadily built up. Winning when you aren’t at your best is the hallmark of champions, but there is little doubt that United will still need to improve in the second half of the season if they are to overthrow their great rivals.
United Still Have Room To Improve
There’s no question that Liverpool are still the team to beat, and that is highlighted as they are clear favourites in the betting. The best way to get value on bets on the Reds is by claiming a free casino bonus. However, the points gap between the sides doesn’t lie. United were 35 points behind the Reds last Christmas, and that gap is now just five.
There are still doubts surrounding United, with questions typically hinging on their defence. There are still too many defensive mistakes that act as a handicap for United, but they have been papered over by the quality attacking displays of the forward players. Breaking down teams that want to sit behind the ball had also been an argument against United’s progression, but that seems to have changed since Fernandes’ arrival.
Numerous times this season United have come back from winning positions against deep-lying defences, with victories away at West Ham United, Sheffield United and Southampton being recent examples. Emulating their away form at Old Trafford could be the key in the second half of the season for United, but already the sights will be set on what could be a massive fixture between the Red Devils and Liverpool in the middle of January.