Cian Dalton speaks about Manchester United’s current run of form and how this momentum is worrying for their Premier League rivals.
It has without a doubt been the most tumultuous year for Manchester United in the last decade. Needless to say, Alex Ferguson deciding to retire after 27 years at the helm was the first wave that rocked the boat. In fact, that could be filed under ‘tidal wave’. The loss of Paul Scholes to retirement raised questions about the stability of the champions’ midfield, with Thomas Cleverley coming under serious question during this campaign so far. Also, the lack of consistency in convincing results under David Moyes has rocked the proverbial boat on more than a few occasions. It is not fair to accuse the new manager of not being up to the job, but many United fans had known nothing but life under Sir Alex and could not fathom that United would not always be consistent and perform well each week, myself included. However, in the past few weeks, Manchester United have finally put a good string of results together and look to be regaining their famous momentum that have propelled them to amazing heights in the footballing world. It is now a question of whether they can retain that momentum over the coming weeks and months and bring themselves back into contention for the title, or at least the Champions League spots.
Phil Jones is thinking along the same lines. He came out after the West Ham United win, in which the Champions won 3-0, and said that Manchester United are now gathering momentum after a wavering start to the season. Following Saturday’s 1-0 win against Norwich, United have now won their last six games in all competitions in a row, and four Premiership clashes in a row since losing two on the bounce to Everton and Newcastle respectively. However, the Manchester giants need to keep this momentum up if they are to be in with a shout for the top four come the business end of the season.
David Moyes believes his side can become title contenders once again in their current vein of form. They have had a good run in all cup competitions, topping their Champions League group and progressing on to the semi-finals of the Capital One-Cup. They are still in the F.A. Cup also, due to face Swansea City on the 5th of January. They will face a tough fitness test in the month of January with several games falling two or three days after the other. However, I believe this could be United’s month. It was an everlasting trait of Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning teams that they could play badly and still win. This trait has transferred itself onto the current squad. A 3-2 victory over Hull on St. Stephen’s Day epitomised the belief in all United players that they can still win a match no matter the deficit. That belief will be vital if Manchester United are to continue to do well in the cup situations.
Consistency is still the key. The month of March looks like a potential banana skin to the plans of new manager David Moyes. Matches against Manchester City, Liverpool and West Brom, possibly accompanied by a Carling Cup final and F.A. Cup tie will all be tough fixtures. While United are expected to progress past Greek outfit Olympiakos in the second round of the Champions League, their current quality of play would not see them fare well against any of the bigger European names. As a Manchester United fan I see every fixture through rose-tinted glasses and assume ‘we’ can go all the way. This year is different.
Reality is being forced upon the fans as life under a new manager is not always easy, at least in the first few years. It doesn’t look likely that the current Champions will retain their title judging by the current performances of Arsenal, City and other title rivals, but top four seems reachable. A good cup run can translate into good league performances. This year’s Premiership is wide open though and there are surprises each week. It is anyone’s title this year and momentum and a run of form is key for anyone, not least Manchester United.
Pundit Arena, Cian Dalton.
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