“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
For the first time in recent history, Manchester United is failing on the pitch.
United has seen its share of obstacles over the years. But this season it appears everything that could go wrong, is going wrong for the defending Premier League champions.
A managerial change, the Wayne Rooney transfer saga, a complete failure by the club during the summer transfer window, injuries to key personnel, an aging roster, underperforming players, and a complete reversal of fortunes on the pitch (officiating decisions/lucky bounce of the ball) have all combined to put Manchester United in the position they are currently in…seventh place in the Premier League; 14 points behind league leading Arsenal and (depending on Monday’s result) they could be six or seven points out of the final Champions League spot.
If the season were to end today, it’s safe to say that it would be considered a failure.
But the season doesn’t end today. In fact, a win in their next match against Sunderland on Wednesday would send Manchester United into the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Following that contest, Manchester United plays five consecutive Premier League contests against: Cardiff City (H), Stoke City (A), Fulham (H), Arsenal (A) and Crystal Palace (A).
The BPL is the most competitive it has been in years, but four of those matches are very winnable for Manchester United; the most difficult of the pack would of course be against the league leaders at the Emirates (a team United beat earlier this year).
So over a span of five BPL matches, United play one team who are above them on the Premier League table.
During that same five game stretch, fourth place Liverpool play: Everton (H) and Arsenal (A). Fifth place Everton play: Liverpool (A), Tottenham (A) and Chelsea (A). While sixth place Tottenham play: Manchester City (H), Everton (H) and Newcastle (A).
Points will always be dropped over the course of a season. But it seems January and February is going to be quite demanding for teams competing for the Premier League’s final Champions League spot.
United fans shouldn’t kid themselves; the club has a ton of work to do between now and the end of the Premier League season. But the team has shown signs of life.
Manchester United has slowly seen their depleted squad returning to 100% health.