The Premier League season is in full bloom with all of its upsets and surprises. Each team has played 22 fixtures, but none of them has emerged as a definite title contender. Arsenal and Leicester City, the two teams at the top of the table, have amassed 44 points each and are separated by a goal difference of 3.
Manchester City stands third in the tier with a point behind the top two.
The current season hasn’t gone quite well for of the league’s powerhouses, Manchester United, and Chelsea. The Red Devils are placed 5th with 37 points while Chelsea stands 14th with 25 points.
The two sides are virtually out of title race but how far they can go in this campaign, let’s analyze.
The Red Devils are having a lackluster campaign and currently stand 7 points adrift of league leaders, Arsenal, with 37 points against their name.
The season has transitioned into its second half, and there aren’t many matches left to play. All the top teams will be switching gears to try and grab as many points as they can by winning most of their remaining fixtures. United, however, do not have the luxury or ability to dictate the table one way or the other, like other top ranked teams.
There are a few key issues the Old Trafford outfit need to work on before they can claim to be title contenders for any silverware this season. Thet are lagging two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham as well.
Given the competitiveness of Premier League, this margin of stats between the two teams is worth considering for any further assessments. Both teams have conceded the almost same number of goals in this season, with Tottenham 18 and United 20. Unfortunately enough for the United fans, the Red Devils have found the net 28 times as compared to the figure of 38 by Tottenham.
At this point, it may not seem like the appropriate factor to derive the result from, but as we progress further in EPL, this factor will decide 1st from 2nd or 2nd from 3rd and further on. Manchester United really need to focus more on their striking aptitude before they run out of ideas and fail to secure, at least, a Champions League place.
Louis van Gaal’s side are second least goal conceding team in the league thus far, indicating the quality of defence they have. The Red Devils have a real chance of finishing in top four if their attack does well in the coming games. However, it is only imperative that United would go down the pecking order if goals don’t come more often since West Ham, who are chasing United for the 5th spot, have scored 34 goals already in the season.
United will be hosting Southampton at old Trafford on 23rd January. The Saints have lost four of their last six fixtures away from home that paves the way for United to grab those 3 points. The Manchester club have a busiest and most demanding schedule in February, playing six games in two different competition and facing Chelsea and Arsenal in EPL. If they can survive this month without much damage, it won’t be too hard to fight for top 3 after that.
No one would have expected to be languishing at number 14 after half the season. To predict something like this before the start of the season would have been like predicting DiCaprio finally getting an Oscar.
The Stamford Bridge club have been sluggish and sloppy this season. They have conceded 34 times in the league that seems to be the primary cause of their downfall. The Blues’ defence is no more rock solid as it used to be.
Chelsea have already conceded 34 goals in 22, just four less than the total number of goals last season. The attack has also been in shambles as well. The West London giants have managed to score 31 goals compared with 51 goals in the last season after a similar number of games.
Chelsea have been leaking goals, and their forwards have not been resilient enough to cover up for their defensive errors. They can finish in top ten if they try to be more defensive and prevent goal leakage. However, if they want to aim for the top four, they will have to be ruthless up-front and continue their unbeaten run under interim Manager Hiddink for as long as they can.
The Blues have a long way to go before anything can be said about where they would finish on the table. They next travel to the Emirates Stadium to face table leaders Arsenal.
If the reigning Champions manage to win this game, which is very unlikely since the Gunners are unbeaten at home in last six games, it will be a huge confidence booster and will bring a ray of hope in the dressing room. Chelsea plays five games in each of their next three months, and it is going to be very busy.