Manchester United suffered a big blow in their title hopes after conceding a last-minute equaliser against Newcastle United on Tuesday night, and the Red Devils could find the deficit to the summit unattainable after tonight’s round of games.
Too far off top spot
Currently sixth in the Premier League table after 21 games, Louis van Gaal’s side were overtaken by West Ham after their draw with Newcastle, and find themselves eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal who have a game in hand. Eleven points would be too big to make up with only 17 matches remaining. United have 51 points still to fight for, and with a perfect record until the end of the season would still only be on 85 points come May – a total that would see them winning the crown just once in the last 12 seasons.
The problems have been obvious from the get-go this campaign, with a lack of goals and inconsistency seeing them falling short of the chasing pack. United’s draw against Newcastle has meant their form in their last six games is now identical to 20th-placed Aston Villa (one win, two draws, three defeats), and such a return isn’t acceptable for a side who have spent a lot of money to challenge for the crown.
Worse than David Moyes?
It’s also worth noting how United’s second campaign under Van Gaal is mirroring that of David Moyes’ failed first season, something that cost the latter’s job in April 2014. While United haven’t lost anywhere near to the same amount of games, they haven’t won as many matches or scored as many goals, nor have they amassed as many points. Van Gaal knows his job is on the line, and as it looks like their title hopes are over for a third season, he needs to deliver a top-four finish.
Manchester United have picked up just two wins in all competitions in their last 11 games. They have scored just 11 goals in this time, conceding 14 goals for their troubles. The Red Devils started the campaign strongly, and looked to be the most consistent side capable of topping the table due to their defensive record, but things have spiralled in the last few months and now they look on course for another trophyless season. Manchester United are 25/1 to win the Premier League title this season, but their woes this season could well result in a third campaign without major honours.
Are Manchester United’s title-hopes all but over?