It’s now December and Manchester United are outside the top six.
After a solid October and early November that saw their only dropped points come against Chelsea in a draw, United have been dominated by derby rivals City and drew in depressing fashion at home against Crystal Palace. Even with that bright period, it’s been poor overall.
Manchester United's last nine Premier League games:
Now 16 points behind Manchester City. ? pic.twitter.com/c6WJ6W5yCH
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 1, 2018
Though they recovered from a two goal deficit today against Southampton, it was another missed opportunity for the Red Devils, who are now 16 points off the lead in the Premier League table, with the rest of the top six yet to play this weekend. If Chelsea defeat Fulham tomorrow, they will be nine points off the top four.
It was largely a microcosm of their third season under Jose Mourinho to-date.
While Romelu Lukaku scored his first goal for United in two and a half months, it was another lethargic, uninspiring performance from a team that have fielded some strange starting XIs.
981 – Romelu Lukaku's strike vs Southampton has ended a run of 12 games and 981 minutes without a goal for Manchester United in all competitions since netting against Watford in September. Relief. pic.twitter.com/xpoVjUoa1X
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 1, 2018
Scott McTominay and the struggling Nemanja Matic joined Phil Jones in a back three today, and they conceded two goals within 20 minutes. United have faced struggles in the scoring department, but their 22 goals have kept pace with the likes of Spurs (22) and Everton (20) above them.
However, their conceded total of 23 is more than every other team has managed aside from the bottom five – more than Palace, Newcastle, Leicester, Wolves and West Ham.
This negative goal difference of -1 puts them at least 13 behind that of each top five team, and a jaw-dropping 38 behind City’s total.
Combine this with the stunning summation of their lack of pace and industry (via BT Sport), and it’s little wonder that many of the Old Trafford faithful are increasingly weary of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.