I can't believe I'm blogging this before Christmas but as far as the domestic league is concerned, Manchester United's title challenge is over. Whereas it is mathematically possible to win the league, our form in the first half of the season only represents what lies ahead in the second half of the season because its is the same opposition and challenge we shall face.
It is such a sad state of affairs considering I'm one of those who rates winning the league as a bigger achievement than winning the Champions League. It is the bread and butter whereas the other Cup competitions are sporadic and so you never really ever get the feel of anything going.
Our defeat to Everton last night means that even getting into the Champions League places will be a battle in itself for us. Unless the club really breaks the bank in January to sort out a couple of immediate problems, we're in for a fight to get into the top 4. At the moment we've found it hard to keep pace with the likes of Everton and Newcastle not to mention the rest of our traditional rivals. We're on course to become the worst ever defending champions of a league title. Our worst start to the season in the Premier League era was always going to be the one in which we changed management but you can never really prepare yourself for what lies ahead, if it is going to be as bad as the 70s and 80s.
If the board have taken the route of getting behind the manager and trying to build long terms from scratch then as fans we need to brace ourselves for a potentially damaging season. David Moyes is on for the long term, and you can only hope that he gets it right and steadies the ship as fast as possible. The big catch here though is that how low can Manchester United fall? The Glazer family are well aware what missing out on the Champions League altogether can do for their finances and the debt. It also becomes that much harder to attract the very top players when you are not in the elite league. Of course it's still early to rule out European football at this stage of the season but increasingly, it seems we are living in denial of the grim realities.
About the game: You cannot really say we played badly on the night. For some reason it just didn't go in for us. Whereas last season against Everton, the ball hit the post and went in, this time it came right back into play. You'd assume that Arsenal will not have such ill luck at the weekend against them. Such has been our season.
Newcastle cannot come soon enough....or perhaps it just shouldn't come and we roll on to next season.