In isolation, yesterday's 2-2 draw with Spurs at White Harte Lane is a decent result. Chelsea posted the same result there earlier in the season and not many of our rivals will go down there and win. However, the fact that we went into the game on the back of 2 dropped points at Cardiff last weekend meant that we had to post all three points yesterday if only to keep pace with the other London clubs.
Chelsea and Arsenal all recorded victories at the weekend to relegate us to 9 points (3 games) off the summit of the league. It is by no means impossible a gap to bridge but we're now in a position where we cannot afford to drop points until the leaders drop a handful. Any further slip ups now will see us drop into a double digit deficit---and that is ground lost to a side we so easily beat at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago. It is a timely reminder of how well you need to do against the also-runs of the league and not just do well against the big sides. It's something we've been good at until this season.
Two points from 2 games have seen the likes of Everton, Newcastle and Southampton sit above us heading into the busy December schedule. The home games against Everton and Newcastle have become must wins. The manager thinks we cannot afford to drop any more points now and he's right. Title talk will start going out of the window if we do not make the top three by New Years' Day. It's all good talking about winning a title from behind but that is rarely possible when you have more than one side ahead of you. The reasoning is that realistically it becomes difficult to expect more than one side to crumble and cede top position to you.
Our poor first half of the season showing means that we need to up the ante for the December schedule where I still think the title is won and lost. The 6 games to be played during this festive period mean that by the turn of the year, the league table will have taken a more final look about it. Teams rarely shift to many positions between January and May. It is why we need to do something about being in 8th place at this stage of the season.
Against Spurs, we only seemed to play when we went behind and yet the game was very much within our means to snatch that victory. Slowly but surely, you get the feeling that if we are destined to be Champions this season, we would have won the games against Southampton, Cardiff and the recent one against Spurs.
The situation remains recoverable if United can churn out wins over the festive period. It is, however, commendable that United have found a way to avoid defeats as its now 12 games unbeaten. Long may that continue.