It’s Time For Manchester United To Consolidate Second Place As Arsenal Lose Even More Ground

Posted: February 11, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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An away trip to Newcastle should hold no fears for Manchester United this weekend. Having sat, feet up, in a decent hotel on Tyneside and watched Manchester City stretch their lead to sixteen points whilst Arsenal dropped more points, the game is an ideal opportunity to pull a little further away.

Only Tottenham Hotspur, to date, have reduced the gap which, to them, is still four points and they have now played a game more.

Liverpool will do well to take three points from Southampton on Sunday evening, given their inconsistency and the recent upturn in form of the Saints.

Chelsea don’t play until Monday and, given their recent form, they are just as likely to lose at home to West Brom, who are desperate for points and rooted at the bottom of the Premier League, as they are to win.

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José Mourinho – Looking to finish second

So it is time for José Mourinho to have his team practising what he preaches. He has given up on winning the title, an admission which, in fairness, has taken a little of the pressure off his players who now know that their boss expects them to secure 2nd place and not chase the impossible dream.

Keeping what you have can sometimes be a little easier than obtaining something you don’t.

They currently sit five points ahead of third placed Liverpool but this could increase to seven with a Liverpool draw or eight if they lose.

Chelsea are a further point behind so, even if they win on Monday, they will remain six points behind.

Of course, for all of this speculation to become fact, then United MUST beat Newcastle, which is the objective surely being impressed upon the players by Mourinho.

The Tottenham/Arsenal result, at present, has little bearing on Manchester United’s battle to remain in second place even if the game itself was a good one.

With Tottenham’s new signing, Lucas Moura, starting from the bench, Harry Kane up front and Arsenal including both of their latest additions, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the score couldn’t possibly remain 0-0 for 90 minutes, could it?

Well, it did for the first 45!

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Harry Kane – Scored the only goal of the game

The second 45 saw a slight improvement but the midfield still controlled/stifled the game until Harry Kane took what turned out to be the second of three chances which came his way and scored the winner.

Spurs then laid siege to the Arsenal goal and peppered Petr Čech with shots, all of which either went wide or were saved by the Czech.

Arsenal did send on Alexandre Lacazette to keep Aubameyang company but to no avail and the Gunners still remain well outside of the top four.

So, as we said, unless Manchester United lose at Newcastle, the London derby result has little or no influence on their position in the table.

What they do need to guard against is complacency. A strange statement, you may think, but it is a fact that, when a pressure situation such as trying to win the title, is reduced to aiming for second place, then a collective sigh of relief will have gone round the dressing room.

The players will be thinking that what they are being asked is now achievable and could, if unchecked, revert to their comfort zone which may be dangerous as there is a possibility of it leading to complacency.

We are sure, however, that José Mourinho is well aware of this possibility and will be doing his utmost to ensure that it doesn’t happen.

RIP Liam Miller

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Liam Miller – A very popular person as well as player

The former Celtic, Manchester United, Leeds United (on loan), Sunderland and Hibernian player died as a result of pancreatic cancer at the age of 36.

He left Celtic to join United in 2004 but struggled to establish himself in the first team. This was quite disappointing for us at the time as we had seen him a few times while at Celtic and thought he would be a good signing for United, so we were quite pleased when he made the move.

After a couple of years however, he moved to Sunderland where he made 57 appearances over a three year period before returning to Scotland to play for Hibernian.

He also spent time playing in Australia and made 21 appearances for the Republic of Ireland for whom he managed one goal.

Here is a fitting piece about him from the Guardian.

 

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