Louis van Gaal finally got sacked Monday afternoon after a mixed two years at Old Trafford. Now the door is open for Jose Mourinho, who has a remarkable coaching resume, to potentially step into the position and get Manchester United back into the Premier League title race next season.
Manchester United has struggled in recent months, especially on the offensive end. If the Red Devils want to have a chance at a top four finish in the Premiere League, they need a big offensive signing this January transfer window.
It seemed like Manchester United’s slide in the Premiere League was finally finished at the end of last season. United ended the season in fourth place, a massive improvement over their eighth-place finish a year prior and earning a spot in the UEFA Champions League play-in round, which they won.
But approaching the halfway mark of his second season at the helm, the “magic” he worked last season is starting to wear off.
Being a Manchester United fan is an interesting proposition nowadays.
At least in the time frame that I have been following the team, it’s been either feast or famine — there hasn’t been much middle ground, save maybe last season when the team finished in fourth (though there were a few embarrassing defeats in there).
Unfortunately, this season appears to be headed in that direction.
Manchester United is headed back to European competition in the UEFA Champions League.
Well, it’s not 100 percent certain at this time, but it’s almost as good as gold. United sit in fourth place in the Premiere League, leading fifth-place Liverpool by six points with two games left two go, meaning the two teams could end up tied on points at the end of the season. But United have a plus-25 goal differential to Liverpool’s plus-11, which would give the Red Devils the tiebreaker. So it would really take a crazy final two weeks for United to cough up the fourth and final spot for England in the Champions League.
And that is quite a success for a team that looked so bad and so poorly managed by David Moyes just a year ago.
Manchester United, once mocked for a 4-0 loss to Milton Keynes in the League Cup in August, is sitting on 65 points with six matches left in the season. The Red Devils are eight points clear of Southampton for their automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League next season and just one point behind second place Arsenal, who they play in the second-to-last match of the season.
Of course, they won’t make up the eight point deficit to Chelsea, who have an extra match to play, but I think this is a good point to say that that Manchester United is back.
The FA Cup is one of the best tournament in sports in the world and I would argue that it’s even better than the UEFA Champions League. Every soccer/football club in England and Wales has a shot in the tournament, no matter how small that chance might be. And those small clubs have a shot to play, and even host, the bigger Premiere League clubs in the tournament, and that’s where the “magic” of the FA Cup comes into play.
And that’s exactly what happened this past weekend.
With a full and versatile starting 11 and full 18 players game in and game out, it’s time for United to really press forward and make sure that they secure a top four spot in the Premiere League table to get into the UEFA Champions League next season.
Don’t look now, but Manchester United is in a great position to get back to the UEFA Champions League.
Yes, the same United that flailed around last season and finished in seventh–the biggest drop for a defending champion in Premiere League history–and embarrassingly lost to the M.K. Dons in the League Cup back in September is now in third in the Premiere League table after a 2-1 win at Southampton Monday.
Now the Red Devils have won five straight matches to get to this point after a rough start to the season, making it apparent that the changes new manager Louis van Gaal have made are in fact turning the club around.
The past year-plus for Manchester United has been disappointing. And that’s putting it lightly.
The Red Devils fell from the Premiere League title holders for the 2012-2013 season to a very disappointing seventh place finish last season behind the failed manager change with David Moyes. This season had been more of the same with no wins against relatively easier competition and an embarrassing 4-0 loss to M.K. Dons.
But Sunday was a different story and a different verse and hope for a great turnaround in Manchester.
To say that Manchester United has had a rough first month or so in the Premiere League and other competitions is really an understatement. In three league matches, United has yet to score a win with two draws and a loss–the latest result being a 0-0 draw versus Burnley. Add in the fact that they got destroyed 4-0 by League 1 side M.K. Dons in the League Cup and things aren’t going very well for first-year manager Louis van Gaal.
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