Manchester United were beaten 1-0 at Newcastle United on Sunday, leaving us a staggering 16 points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
On top of that, Liverpool closed the gap on us to two points with their 2-0 win at Southampton. According to a popular soccer betting site, the Saints have now only kept one clean sheet in their last 18 Premier League outings – that was at Old Trafford over Christmas.
Chelsea can move to within three points of us by beating West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Monday night, leaving 11 games to go of the 2017-18 Premier League season. Tottenham Hotspur moved to within four points of us on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Arsenal in the North London derby.
Once again it was a lackluster performance in attack from us as we didn’t force Newcastle United debutant goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka into a meaningful save until stoppage time.
Alexis Sánchez has now played three Premier League games for us, losing two, and his only goal being his penalty rebound versus Huddersfield Town – the only two shots on target he’s had for us in those 270 minutes.
Striker Romelu Lukaku worked well in linking up with Sánchez and Anthony Martial but once again the Belgian is failing to cause opposition goalkeepers many problems. His role being to score goals.
The concession of Newcastle’s goal was bad defensively too, from the side who have kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season. Firstly, Chris Smalling dived to concede a free kick in our own half. We then left two Newcastle players unchallenged to set up an unmarked Matt Ritchie inside the penalty area to score his first goal of the season. David de Gea had little chance.
So, is the José Mourinho project working? Manchester City have been unbelievable this season and are on course for a record Premier League points tally. Perhaps from that perspective we cannot expect to win the title in 2017-18. However, we’re only on course for 79 points currently – not enough to have won the Premier League title any campaign this millennium.
The boss has had ridiculous sums to spend – Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sánchez’s wage and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all failed to live up to their expectations so far (early days for Sánchez I know). We have the best goalkeeper in the world, talented attacking players and yet we’ve lost at Huddersfield Town, been held at home by out-of-form Southampton and by Burnley, to name a few. We were also eliminated from the EFL Cup by Bristol City.
It’s not good enough for Manchester United. Is this team really good enough to win the Champions League this season? I can’t see us getting past all of Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain/Real Madrid and Juventus, personally.
The FA Cup would be a success and finishing second is now a must. but if José Mourinho is to win the Premier League title with us then he needs to make some serious signings over the summer and produce some better tactics if we’re to overhaul Manchester City at the top of the league next season…