The Red Devils were thrashed 3-1 by Manchester City in their last of Manchester derby at the Etihad stadium before the international break. Manchester United winning 2-1 against Juventus in the Champions League in an away match, however, was a welcoming result which many would suggest was contradicting to both side’s performance.
The loss against Citizens place United at the 8th position in the Premier League table, 12 points adrift the leaders City who have 32 points after 12 games. Currently, United stand 7 points down from the top four.
Premier League table:
1. Man City 32pts
2. Liverpool 30pts
3. Chelsea 28pts
4. Spurs 27pts
5. Arsenal 24pts
6. Bournemouth 20pts
7. Watford 20pts
8. Man Utd 20pts pic.twitter.com/NtxxiFySRO
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) November 11, 2018
Moreover, United supporters and former players were definitely disappointed with the result. Former Manchester United legend Gary Neville spoke about United and their performance so far in an interview after the Manchester derby. Neville said:
“It’s sobering to say but we shouldn’t compare Manchester United with Manchester City – watching both at this moment in time there is an absolute gulf between them. A 12-point gap is about right after 12 games and United’s biggest problem isn’t Manchester City but how to get closer to the rest of the top four and into that race. At this moment in time City are at a different level all over the pitch to everyone.”
“United are nowhere near City, but they can’t afford to be many points behind Tottenham and Arsenal and Liverpool and Chelsea. At this moment there is real pressure in terms of whether you think Manchester United will finish in the top four this season.”
Looking at the current top four teams in the Premier League: City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham; they all seem to have consistency; whether it is their team playing style, performance, handling pressure, etc. which is pretty much lacking in the United team.
A top team in a competitive league has to perform week in and out all through the year, which clearly is the case for Pep Guardiola’s team who are in the top spot 12 points ahead of United after 12 games so far this season and may as well be a tough contender for the Champions League this year.
Jose Mourinho’s side has star players like Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, etc., but are still struggling to find a rhythm in their game; playing as individuals rather than a team; struggling to keep clean sheets. Anthony Martial seem to be the only exception who has scored consecutively in five matches and appears to be in great form.
? Games: 5
⚽ Goals: 6
? Scoring in 5 consecutive @PremierLeague matches.
— SPORF (@Sporf) November 11, 2018
United fans all over the world would be wondering whether the club, that have witnessed so much glory in the past decades would not even qualify for Champions League next year; which they won’t if not able to secure a spot in the top four of the Premier League table by the end of the 2018-19 season.
Judging by the competition, Man City is certainly playing on a different level altogether giving other clubs all sorts of troubles. Many will debate that Mourinho is not getting the best out of the group of players he has, considering the talent and the enormous money spent on the transfer market and weekly wages of star players.
Manchester United is the biggest football brand with a long history filled with glory, many trophies and millions of fans all over the world. If in spite of spending millions of money, a club as big as the Red Devils are struggling to play good quality football consistently, then you should wonder what it takes to be a great team in today’s world.
Yet, the question everybody wants to ask the United manager Jose Mourinho is that whether they are still capable of securing a spot among the top four teams in the Premier league by the end of the current season in May. The answer to this, judging by their overall performance in the league so far, seems to be a long stretched struggle, forget about winning the title.