Most Manchester United fans believed that the glory years would return to Old Trafford when Jose Mourinho arrived at the helm but it hasn’t been plain sailing for the Red Devils for the most part of the season. United have avoided defeat in each of their last 16 games in all competitions but a disappointing start to the campaign has hindered Mourinho’s men in their pursuit of the Premier League title. Draws against the likes of Burnley, West Ham, Stoke City and Everton could turn out to be very costly indeed.
The Reds are twelve points behind runaway leaders Chelsea and it is hard to envision United lifting the crown at the end of May. The likes of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are performing admirably and United may struggle to climb above all of their rivals in the race for top spot. At the time of writing, United are the Premier League’s in-form side after taking 19 points from a possible 21 in recent weeks but they must keep winning in order to close the gap at the summit.
£89 million man Paul Pogba may have struggled to inspire confidence in United’s 1-1 draw at home against Liverpool but the Frenchman has started to show glimpses of why the Red Devils forked out a record sum of money to re-sign the youngster. Statistically, Pogba hasn’t lived up to the hype but he has managed to influence matches on a weekly basis – even if he isn’t scoring goals or recording assists every time he takes to the field. It isn't surprising to see people expect Pogba to deliver the goods week-in, week-out but it is unfair to label him as 'overpriced' just yet.
With Zlatan Ibrahimović netting goals upfront, United can continue to secure positive results in their attempt for glory. The Sweden icon has bagged 17 goals in his last 17 outings for the Red Devils and United fans have fallen in love with the charismatic 35-year-old during his brief stint at Old Trafford. Reports suggest that Ibrahimović will extend his contract by at least one year before the end of the campaign and his goals will prove crucial in their bid for the top spot.
Defensively, United have been much more assured since the beginning of December and the Marcos Rojo-Phil Jones partnership has flourished over the festive period. With Eric Bailly in action for the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations and Chris Smalling out of favour under Mourinho, United’s current crop of central defenders could be set for a solid run in the line-up. The Red Devils have kept clean sheets in three of their last seven league games and it would be fair to suggest that Mourinho is happy with the present unit.
If anyone can do it, United can. The ‘Mourinho factor’ may swing the title back towards Old Trafford and it would be foolish to write them out until the crown is mathematically out of reach. As of January 19th, the Red Devils are priced at 20/1 in Betway ’s Premier League odds but momentum is with Mourinho’s men and the title race has certainly shifted away from Stamford Bridge over the last couple of weeks. With Costa pondering a move to China, Pep Guardiola struggling at the Etihad and Spurs and Arsenal being Spurs and Arsenal, United could swoop in and snatch the title in dramatic fashion.
This United side is on the rise and a title triumph under Mourinho looks like an inevitability – especially if the owners continue to give him financial backing. The Portuguese looks right at home in the Old Trafford hot seat and a first crown since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 is on the horizon. The Red Devils might have left themselves too much to do in the next few months but it would be naïve to rule United out in January. If the Red Devils maintain their current form, there’s absolutely no reason why the title won’t be heading back to Manchester at the end of the campaign.
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