Don’t look now, but the team everyone wrote off after last year’s poor performance and the fact they had a ton of injuries early on is in a great position to make a return to Europe next year.
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.
As mentioned above, the season for United got off to a really rough start. After making numerous signings in the offseason, including bringing in Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao among others, and bringing in Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, things got off on the wrong foot. Like the Texas Rangers, the Red Devils faced injury after injury and then suffered bad losses to M.K. Dons and Leicester City. At that point, many people wrote them off saying that they were in the second season of a downward spiral.
But as the injuries stopped and players came back and United got into an easier part of its schedule, things started to turn around. They won three matches in November, then failed to drop again in December, putting them in a spot to compete again for the top four spots.
Now, the Red Devils have won their last six league matches and are coming off of a 4-2 trouncing of rivals Manchester City over the weekend.
Yeah, I’d say that they’re back.
The resurgence for Manchester United has been led by the resurgence United star Wayne Rooney. Rooney, who many had also written off, has come back to score 14 goals this season. But it hasn’t just been Rooney. Countless other players have had a big hand in this, including Juan Mata who really announced himself with the club with two goals last month in a win at Liverpool and the clincher against Man City on Sunday. Even Marouane Fellaini has gotten in on the action with six goals this season, including scoring the go head goal Sunday.
Now, there’s still time for things to go wrong for United this season. The Red Devils still have to play Arsenal and Chelsea before the season ends, and even as well as as the team has been playing, those could easily be two bad losses that might cost them a spot in the Champions League.
But for now, the question of whether or not Manchester United is back after a poor 2013-2014 season has been answered resoundingly. The Red Devils are back, nearing the levels they had under Sir Alex Ferguson and looking to reclaim their spot at the top of the Premiere League here in the near future.