Friday, 1 November 2013
COTTAGE TEST OF UNITED'S RESOLVE
With a foot into the last 16 of the Champions League and progression into the last 8 of the League Cup, United's real concern this side of Christmas is their league form and position.
It's an 8 point gap between United and the summit of the league. You'd like to think that by the end of November, we shall have a clearer picture of United's league status this season. Experience shows that the table hardly changes at all after November. That is essentially because by December, most teams have played each other at least once, and so the second half of the season usually tends to reflect the results of the first round. For instance in November, the likes of Southampton, Everton, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal which are unusually occupying positions ahead of us in the league will have played each other and hence taken points off each other.
It means after November, the chances of moving a place up the table become increasingly slim. An illustration of this is that currently, United can only move a place in the log if they better Manchester City's results at the weekend. That is usually a battle for the summit of the league, but given that both Everton and Southampton are a mega 4 points ahead of United, it means a win and a defeat for the two mid-table sides, will not change United's position until similar results are posted the following weekend for the same clubs.
In fact, if results go their way, United could find themselves within 2 points of Arsenal by the end of next weekend when Arsenal visit. Obviously it doesn't mean Arsenal will still be top but it does show you how the league table can be manipulated to suit you if you strategise over just a couple of wins.
With that in mind, you'd expect that the players should bleed to the three points in London tomorrow. Fulham are not at their tricky-best but all you need is a bit of complacency and teams in this league will take maximum advantage. I'd like to think that after the shock against West Brom and the sickener against Southampton, United will know all about the wages of not turning up.
The position we're in in the Champions League means we need to prioritise the game ahead of the trip to Real Soceidad on Tuesday. It is by all means, a big game for United.
So Come on You Reds!