Manchester United is the world’s most popular football club and it has the most English Premier League (EPL) Title wins. This club is indeed one of the most respected football clubs in the world and can boast its wonderful success over the years.
More than 500 million fans worldwide enjoy supporting this great club and have enjoyed supporting it also since I was a boy.
There are highs and lows in terms of achievements for this great club and 2018 is one of those years. Manchester United finished second in the EPL 2017/2018 season local Manchester rivals Manchester city. The club also achieved second place in the FA 2018 Cup Final as well as making it to the second round of the Champions League. Even though these achievements would have been welcomed with much awe from teams of lesser calibre, many Manchester United supporters including the players, manager staff and board members wanted to have a better season, especially when Man Utd finished 19 points behind Manchester City last, and lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup final in a match many expected us to win.
I think the most disappointing result was being knocked out of the Champions League in the second round by Sevilla (a La Liga team), which wasn’t considered a team that could match or compete with Manchester United’s calibre of players such as Paul Pogba.
Jose Mourinho began the 2018/2019 season with the hope of improving the team’s performance from last season with the squad of players he has including the new signings- the Brazilian Fred and the Portuguese Diogo Dalot. Mourinho had hoped to sign even more players and even some very big names such as Alex Sandro and Sergej Milinkovic Savic.
Disappointing start for Man United
This 2018/2019 season was the worst start ever for Manchester United in 13 years! Before the end of the first half of the season, Manchester United conceded more goals than they had in 2017/2018 EPL season. The start was so disappointing that Man United was in eighth place at one point and was looking to slip even further and the chances of getting even into the top 4 to be eligible for Champions League were getting slimmer and slimmer.
More disappointment for the club continued when the players were beaten 8-7 on penalties by Derby County after a 2-2 draw in the Third Round of the Football League Cup. A match which United should have won so easily was drawn out and the players had to depend on penalties to get a win but still failed and to make things worse, Paul Pogba did not play- he could only sit and watch in the stands. Man United news reports had to report this disappointing result to the millions of loyal fans.
More disappointment continued as the club say its chance to hold the EPL quickly slipping away from them as Manchester City and Liverpool- the EPL table leaders extending the point gap between themselves and the rest of the group. Tottenham was doing its best to stay in contention for the title and even Chelsea FC was doing well enough to stay in the race. The Red Devils knew that they had to start winning to stay in contention for the title and even Jose Mourinho knew that. But, losing EPL matches 3-0 to Tottenham and 3-2 to Brighton in August, 3-1 to West Ham in September, 3-1 to Manchester City in November and 3-1 to Liverpool in December was a big sign Man United may not make it to the top four much less win the EPL title and more concerns about qualifying for the elite competition the Champions League grew.
From August to December 16, 2018, Manchester United only secured 7 victories and 5 draws. This was too disappointing for the fans, the players and the board and so the board decided to part ways with then manager Jose Mourinho.
Former player hired: Man United News
It took 48 hours for the Manchester United board to announce the sacking of Mourinho and the hiring of Ole
Gunnar Solskjaer as Interim Manager. Since Solskjaer has been hired, the Red Devils have not seen defeat but have registered nine (9) wins out of ten (10) matches with 1 draw.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to be clicking with the players as he seems to have given the players a lot of motivation and this can be seen in the performances of players such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. Paul Pogba has scored 8 goals from 10 matches and has made 5 assists. The most recent EPL match was United’s 3-0 victory over relegating side Fulham. The goals in this match came from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba have been making the Manchester United news a lot as their performances seem to be boosted since the arrival of Solskjaer and Ander Herrera, a Manchester United captain, thinks it has a lot to do with how Solskjaer and the players get along. Recently, Manchester United announced that Anthony Martial has signed a new contract with the club, which will last up until 2024. This is great news since the player in the 2017/2018 season wanted to leave the club due to his lack of matches under Jose Mourinho. But now the players’ mind has changed since the arrival of Solskjaer and he does seem to be happy to be at the club.
Many football fans may be wondering how long can Solskjaer keep up this run of wonderful performances for since he could be given the job as permanent manager once he remains consistent. Many believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s biggest challenge as Interim Manager is yet to come.
Can United finish this EPL season in the top 4?
Manchester United are currently in the 4th position and will remain fourth after the match between Man City and Chelsea if Manchester City beat Chelsea. Now, United are 6 points behind Tottenham, which has a game in hand and Tottenham could extend that lead to 9 points if they win tomorrow.
However, if Tottenham wins all their matches they will end up on 96 points, and the highest number of points that we can get now is 87 if we win all our matches. So, realistically, the highest Manchester United can finish in the EPL this season is fourth. BUT, (there’s a big but) if United wins all their remaining matches and improves the goal difference (GD) by say 1.5 or 2 per match the team will have a GD of 41 per match to compete with that of Tottenham and possibly Man City.
Now, United can also realistically finish 3rd because if Tottenham loses about 2 matches and draw 3 and win the remaining 8, then they will finish the league on 84 points, which is higher than what United finished on last season for a second. But, if we finish on 87 points, providing that Man City and Liverpool maintain their lead, then we can finish 3rd.
So, the most realistic finish for United right now is fourth, followed by 3rd position, but we know that there is a slim chance of United winning the EPL and/or finishing second.
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