It will be 12 days until Manchester United take to the pitch again (at home to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup 4th round), 16 until they stage another Premier League fixture (at Burnley). The winter break is as good a time as any to look at where United are and where they’re trying to go.
They left it very late, but still continued their recent dominance over West Ham United, besting the Hammers 1-0 at Old Trafford, and in the process claimed a must win match with massive top 4 implications. We knew heading in that the loser would be in rough shape for the top 4 race.
United now currently sit fourth, with a game in hand over the team they just beat on Saturday. However, sixth place Tottenham (currently in a goalless draw at Chelsea) have two matches in hand on United, and they’re just one point behind the Red Devils.
And you have seventh place Arsenal, with a game in hand on MUFC, and two points behind. All in all, it looks to be a wide open, exciting race for UCL qualification that could come down to the wire.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick celebrated the W.
“The atmosphere [in the dressing room] is amazing,” he said.
“Quite rightly the boys were celebrating. They know what a massive win this was. The red army’s support during the game was amazing. I can only say thank you to all the fans.”
The German continued, giving more praise to the supporters.
“It’s always good but today was massive and they were also aware of how important this game was. They pushed us through the whole game.”
While this season has not been up to anyone’s ideal hopes and dreams, it is still salvageable.
Given the rockiness, overall, it is an accomplishment, sort of, for United to be in this position right now. It’s far from the standards of the club, but hey, it could be so much worse.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”