Last weekend, Manchester United moved to the top of the Premier League after securing a 2-0 home win against WBA. Their City rivals, Manchester City, lost 1-0 away to Swansea, a side who have performed well at home against teams at the top end of the table, taking eight points off the sides in the top five. They have only lost once, which was a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.
After a shaky start, United went on to win 2-0, with both goals coming from Wayne Rooney who has scored nine in his last five games. This has taken him past the 20 goal mark in the Premier League, the second time he has achieved this feat in his colourful career.
Although United are back at the top, they are not performing with much conviction. Even a 3-1 away win at Tottenham Hotspur was a game in which United often struggled to get going. They benefited however from some sloppy defending from Spurs and secured a great away win, but this is what champions do, they win games when they are not at their best, just as they did last season. Many fans couldn’t believe how they had won the league last year, but many didn’t care as it took their tally to 19, enough to edge past their rivals from down the East Lancs Road.
The two home games either side of a trip to White Hart Lane, were in the Europa League against Ajax and more recently Athletic Bilbao. In both games Manchester United performed poorly and were outclassed by the Dutch and then the Spanish. These two teams highlighted the fact that Old Trafford is not the place that teams fear coming to anymore, nor is it the fortress it once was. At Old Trafford, it is not rare to see away teams come and have a go at United, some even get rewarded for their adventurous mindset, most notably this season was Blackburn Rovers who ended up walking away with a 3-2 win. Years ago, teams would have a tedious approach and would always pack the midfield in the hope of maybe stealing a point, but now teams feel they can get much more, and I feel this displays how the gap between the top and bottom of the Premier League has dramatically closed over the past few seasons.
Top of the League
So how are United top of the league? It’s pretty amazing really, considering the mega millions City have spent, compared to what United have spent. Many thought it would be plain sailing for the Eastlands outfit this season who have spent big money on players such as Sergio Aguero and David Silva. But it has not been the case, Manchester United have stuck with them and now find themselves a solitary point clear at the top. You could argue that United also have a better run in, no home games against anybody in the top ten, and no away games against anybody in the top eight, (barring City on the 30th April.) City meanwhile, face games against Chelsea and Arsenal who have both shown signs of a return to form.
There will obviously be plenty more chops and changes at the top between now and May 13th, and in all honestly, I believe the Premier League will already be decided one way or another by the time the two teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on Monday 30th May. This match will be a mouth-watering clash should Manchester United’s Premier League crown still be up for grabs.