Manchester United are high of the Premier League table with on the arena of half the season long gone nonetheless are they title contenders or mere pretenders?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s males beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor on Tuesday courtesy of a Paul Pogba plot to transfer three components determined of champions Liverpool after 17 video games.
It used to be the first time United had ended the day high of the table to this point into the season since their final title-a success marketing campaign in 2012/13 below Alex Ferguson.
AFP Sport looks at whether United can preserve their first high-flight title for eight years as they put together to hobble to Anfield on Sunday.
Manchester United’s success in the transfer market has been extra omit than hit since Ferguson guided them to a 20th high-flight title.
But a scrutinize at the substitutes’ bench at Turf Moor reveals Solskjaer has quietly set together a sturdy squad that offers him enviable choices.
The Norwegian started with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Bruno Fernandes in midfield, with in-originate Scott McTominay, Fred and Donny van de Beek on the bench.
Edinson Cavani used to be aid as the purpose of passion in assault after a 3-match ban, with academy graduate Mason Greenwood feeble as a behind change.
In central defence, Eric Bailly is impressing alongside Harry Maguire, offering United valid tempo at the aid.
But it is not magnificent the personnel that steal the ogle – there is a palpable sense of togetherness at the membership, confirmed by the players’ wild celebrations as soon as they currently beat Aston Villa 2-1.
Solskjaer – who won six Premier League titles as a player at Dilapidated Trafford – has not had an easy whisk responsible.
On every occasion the membership maintain hit a rocky patch the stress has been ramped up, with solutions he doesn’t maintain the skills or nous to transfer toe to toe with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
An outstanding 29 components from a seemingly 33 point to the energy of their revival after a unlucky commence to the marketing campaign nonetheless Solskjaer is just not getting carried away.
“We’re nearly midway by arrangement of the season so it is comparatively little bit of a trace of where you are at,” said the 1999 treble hero.
“But no one will seemingly bear in mind the league table on the 12th of January.”
No matter their comely bustle of originate, bookmakers aloof maintain United as third favourites for the Premier League title, at the aid of Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool.
Klopp’s males maintain failed to hit the heights of ultimate season nonetheless are aloof firmly in the title image despite a defensive harm disaster this term.
United will hobble to the dwelling of their fierce rivals with a spring of their step – a miles bawl from final twelve months, when defeat at Anfield left them 30 components at the aid of the Merseyside outfit.
Solskjaer, whose facet are unbeaten in domestic away fixtures since losing to Liverpool in January 2020, said United were having a scrutinize ahead to the anguish.
“We magnificent are attempting to transfer there, lustrous we’re playing the finest team in the nation by a mile over the final twelve months and a half,” he said. “They are champions by lawful and this might occasionally be a large test of where we’re.”
For his or her piece, Metropolis maintain quietly set together a daring bustle to transfer to within striking distance of the stop of the table.
They are seven components at the aid of United nonetheless maintain two video games in hand and are favourites to preserve their third title in four seasons.
Dilapidated United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who played alongside Solskjaer at Dilapidated Trafford, is just not sure his historical facet are “somewhat there but” nonetheless believes they’re not a long way away.
“If we would add players fancy (ahead Erling) Haaland from Dortmund or (defender Dayot) Upamecano from Leipzig I would say then we would be championship challengers,” he informed the BBC.
It is up to his ex-teammate to point to him snide.