Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Manchester United’s top-four hopes back on track in the Premier League

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, English Premier League 17 Dec 2016

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has turned things around in recent weeks.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has turned things around in recent weeks.

Manchester United struck late to win against Crystal Palace in Wednesday night’s Premier League clash to seal their third consecutive win in all competitions – finishing six in the table six points off a top-four spot.

The in-form Red Devils have enjoyed an eight-game unbeaten run, picking up points to the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, and will fancy their chances of a top-four place, having made back some of the deficit in recent weeks.

United defence finally looks stable

Earlier in the Premier League season, Manchester United had suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Watford and a 4-0 defeat away to Chelsea, but they look a much more resilient outfit since October. Manager Jose Mourinho is known for his sides being difficult to break down, while favouring a narrow victory rather than compromising defensive structure in the pursuit for more goals and that has been evident in recent weeks.

Manchester United have conceded one or less goals in each of their last eight games in all competitions, in which they’ve also failed to lose, and look a much more convincing outfit now. Despite a makeshift backline containing Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Antoinio Valencia, Manchester United are nullifying sides, and part of the reason is down to their central midfield trio of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba.

Team starting to familiarise themselves with each other

The Manchester United side is starting to pick itself in games now with the majority of players a cert to feature following their recent form. The lack of changes to the starting eleven has led to Manchester United building up momentum and consistency, and the Red Devils are enjoying their best run of form under new manager Jose Mourinho now.

There’s the right balance in the squad of pace and technical ability, with enough substance to provide the defensive protection. Earlier in the season, Mourinho was still trying to work out his best side but looks to have finally settled on a starting eleven. Players frozen out in the autumn months are now playing a big role in the team, and performances have been considerably improved as a result of naming the same squad week after week.

David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zaltan Ibrahimovic looks to be how United will line-up this season, and now hopes of finishing in the European places seem a possibility. Manchester United are 6/4 to finish in the top-four of the Premier League in 2016/17. Can Jose Mourinho lead the side to a Champions League spot?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crippy Cooke


Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.

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