While many would suggest the battle for the English Premier League title is a two-horse race between Arsenal and Manchester City, Manchester United will be happy to go under the radar.
United do have ground to make up on frontrunners Arsenal but, with a squad moving in the right direction under manager Erik ten Hag, the Red Devils could find themselves in the mix come the last days of the season.
Overcoming A Tricky Start
It was far from the ideal start to the Premier League campaign for Ten Hag, as his side suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Brighton and Brentford. United have since responded and as of 22nd February were priced at 13.00 in the sports betting to win the Premier League title this season. It was always going to take time for the squad to adapt to the Dutchman’s tactics, having played a different system under his predecessor Ralf Rangnick. Following the shock losses to the Seagulls and the Bees, United picked up their first win against old rivals Liverpool with a 2-1 victory back in August. That success against Jürgen Klopp’s side gave United fans a glimpse of what they could expect from Ten Hag’s side going forward. A team with plenty of energy, combative in midfield and looking to be clinical in the final third.
The new style quickly began to yield positive results and United lost only one of their 10 games after that heavy defeat at Brentford. While the results on the field were moving in a positive direction there was the distraction of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future to deal with. The Portuguese star was United’s top goalscorer last season but suddenly found himself down the pecking order at Old Trafford under the new manager. It was a big call from Ten Hag and the club to move on such a valuable asset but the former Ajax boss seemed to think it was the right decision for the squad. Since Ronaldo’s departure from the Red Devils, the team has continued to impress and finds themselves battling with Arsenal and Man City for the title.
Ten Hag Has Brought The Best Out Of Rashford
A big reason for optimism growing about a potential title push at Old Trafford is the form of England striker Marcus Rashford. Under Rangnick there was speculation Rashford could be sold, with Paris Saint-Germain being linked with the forward. However, under Ten Hag, Rashford has rediscovered the form that saw him burst onto the scene during Louis van Gaal’s tenure at Old Trafford in 2016. With confidence restored, Rashford has emerged as one of the first names on the United team sheet once again. With 12 goals in his first 23 Premier League games of the campaign, Rashford has pulled away as the leading goalscorer at United, who also secured a spot in the EFL Cup final this season.
While Rashford, who has had injury problems in the past, has stepped up to grab the headlines and put United in a position to challenge for the title, there are other players who have impressed. Casemiro’s arrival from Real Madrid was welcomed with mixed feelings amongst supporters and pundits but the Brazilian has been an important figure in United’s side this season. Offering a bit more steel in the heart of the Red Devils midfield, that perhaps they were missing in the last few campaigns, Casemiro has proved many of his doubters wrong.
United Can Stay In Title Fight
Arsenal made the early running at the start of the season and it has been up to the likes of Man City and United to make up the lost ground. With Chelsea and Liverpool struggling for consistency, some of the familiar big clubs have been missing from the top of the Premier League table. Consistency is what will once again be key for any side wishing to lift the Premier League trophy this season.
Having recorded wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham this season, United have shown they can come out on top in the big games. Making sure they don’t slip up in the games they are expected to win will be the key, if United are to lift the trophy for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.