Manchester United Back On Track? Chelsea Feeling The Heat And Manchester City Cruising

Posted: September 26, 2016 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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José Mourinho and the Manchester United supporters will hope it was just a blip, just one of those things. Losing to City was inexcusable but not a major shock. Feyenoord was a bad performance, which can happen. The Watford loss was the worrying one.

This was a game from which United would have been expecting three points, at worst one point, but they ended the day with none. The trip home would have been very quiet.

What happened? How did a team who, the previous week, had lost narrowly to City and, prior to that, had won all three games playing some excellent football in the process, lose so poorly to a team which had only won one game before meeting United?

Where had the confidence gone? Where had the swagger gone? It all disappeared at Vicarage Road, where United turned into a team of self-doubters. Indecisive and, at times, hopeless footballers appeared where once there had been have-a-go heroes who would never give in until it was impossible to achieve anything.

The problem was compounded due to the fact that this was United’s third loss on the run and the millions of armchair supporters, (you know the ones, they’ve never been to Manchester, never mind Old Trafford), were sharpening the knives for Mourinho who had now become as bad as van Gaal and had to go.

Fortunately, they never have got their way and they never will. Mourinho has since turned things round and an excellent performance against Leicester has put to bed any thoughts of a longer term problem. The major difference in the Leicester game was that the big decision to drop Rooney was made, although why it was considered a big decision is beyond me. A milestone had been reached and we can only hope that it remains the way of things for the foreseeable future.

Chelsea appear to have hit the same buffers as United did although, in fairness, they have done it against tougher opposition. They would still, however, have expected ro beat Liverpool at home and pick up at least a point away to Arsenal. As it was they were comprehensively outplayed in both games and lost them with ease.

The Chelsea players who were saying how much better Conte is than Mourinho may yet eat their words. In some ways I hope not as I would like to see Antonio Conte still in the job after Christmas but another couple of results like the last two and he will be searching through the classifieds.

Over at The Etihad Pep Guardiola is upset with/has upset Yaya Touré and Joe Hart. One has gone out on loan to Torino and the other hasn’t, a fact which Pep would be delighted to see change in the short term.

None of this appears to have had any effect on the other players and nor should it. They have carried on like professionals which is exactly as it should be. They are also seeing the benefit of their behaviour by sitting on top of the Premier League with a 100% record. It is a measure of the status of the manager that he can “upset” senior players and get away with it because of the obvious respect in which he is held.

Having watched all of City’s games I can honestly say that they were poor in only one. Against Sunderland at home they didn’t deserve to win and only did so with a late own goal. If a wake up call was needed then this was it and they haven’t looked back since then.

It is this consistency which will see City crowned champions at the end of the season. United, Liverpool and Arsenal will contest the other top four places with Chelsea missing out on Champion’s League qualification for the second year running.

Antonio Conte, by this time, may well be back in Italy.

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