Manchester United are among the top four teams in the country, just not according to the league table or their results at Old Trafford.

The league table currently has them in joint fifth position and, at Old Trafford, they have failed to beat Stoke City, Burnley and 10-man Bournemouth to name but three.

Failure to take three points from each of these games is inexcusable and it is difficult to imagine the same happening to Chelsea or Manchester City.

Against Bournemouth, for example, the finishing was woeful. Both Paul Pogba And Zlatan Ibrahimovic were guilty of missing excellent chances with the latter even managing to miss a penalty.

Wayne Rooney, for the first time in a while, started the game and spent almost seventy minutes proving just why he hasn’t been starting games. He needs a fresh club and a different challenge, somewhere where the expectations are a fair bit lower than at United.

The fact that United’s goal was scored by Marcos Rojo who, unmarked in the area, just stuck his foot out to deflect an Antonio Valencia cross into the net, speaks volumes about the problems United are having in front of goal.

When he isn’t scoring goals Zlatan can be a bit of a liability. Yes, he can be good at holding up the ball but, more often than not, his misplaced passes give the ball back to the opposition far too frequently and his lack of pace means he does little to try and regain possession.

The other problem is that nobody else seems able to step up to the plate. The second top scorer at Old Trafford is Juan Mata with nine. This puts him seventeen behind Ibrahimovic and goes a long way to explaining what is wrong at United.

At the end of the season it is rumoured that United will sign Antoine Griezmann, which will certainly add a few goals to the total. He is not, however, an out-and-out striker so can only reasonably be expected to score 15-20. This will go some way to solving the problem but not entirely.

Ibrahimovic may extend his stay to include next season which, if he can maintain his form, would be good news for United. Whether or not he continues at Old Trafford, United need to sign a world class striker. This need is emphasised every time they drop points, at home, to a team battling relegation or a team outside of the top ten.

Had United beaten Burnley, Stoke and Bournemouth, then they would be six points better off than they are currently. This would see them in second place and only Manchester City, by winning their game in hand, could go above them. This is how important those lost points are. The way the top of the Premier League is, three points could be the difference between having to play a Champion’s League qualifier or not. They could be the difference between qualifying for Europe or not. There is one heck of a lot of prestige and money riding on these results.

Fortunately, with a few games left yet, United are still in touch. They are only a point away from the top four and the inconsistency shown by Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool should mean that they make it into the elite group by the end of the season.

During the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson there was rarely ever any doubt that United would finish in the top two, never mind the top four. Those days may not be too far away again but, for next season at the latest, a new striker is vital.

  1. RedMe says:

    Very bad team selection from Mourinho today and the substitutions more of the same.
    Leaving Rooney on for almost 70 minutes cost us the game.


  2. Surajo Ilyasu Jibrin says:

    The problem facing United is Scholes, Giggs and Ronaldo types (game changers). Also Mourinho does not have a plan B other than balls in the air and never play Martial at center foward even when Zlatan is not having a good game. We never beat any teams who sit back when without ball. These could cost us the top 4 spot. Smalling, Fellaini, Darmian, Rojo, Rooney, Young and Jones are not good enough for United at the moment.


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