Manchester United were just minutes from victory on Saturday at Old Trafford against Southampton who equalized in the 89th minutes to draw the game 1-1.
Robin van Persie’s assured strike after 26 minutes in the first half had the home fans believing this would surely be a routine exercise against Mauricio Pochettino’s Saints – the host are seldom known to lose a lead at Old Trafford.
However, Pochettino’s side did enjoy 54 per cent and more their fair share of the game’s possession, had 18 shots of which 7 were on target to the Red Devils’ 12 shots and 5 on target – if anything, it’s clear that the Saints deserved something out of the game.
However, Manchester United and David Moyes are likely to feel a bit robbed by the result which they will likely feel was theirs to lose and a scrappy goal from a corner just minutes from the final whistle completely took the glass off the game and two points from the champions.
Moyes asserted his belief that United missed their opportunities to take the game and they did indeed have the chances to ensure the victory by doubling their lead. Ultimately, David De Gea was caught off-guard by Adam Lallana standing in front of him as the corner was delivered. Perhaps a more experience’s stopper would have kept his eye on the cross in rather than the man blocking his path to catch it but, nonetheless, United ‘s second draw of the campaign so far now leaves them skating on thin ice as they endeavour to retain the title.
After eight games played, the champions of England have won three, drawn two and lost three, leaving them in 8th place in the Premier League with 11 points, 8 points adrift of Arsenal who currently top the table.
It is early days and, as Alan Hansen quite rightly reminded viewers of Match of the Day on Saturday, the title can’t be won in ten games but, as United may yet find out, it can be lost in ten games.
United now face Stoke at home and Fulham away in their next league fixtures which, on paper, one would have expect them to win both as they did last season, incidentally, but, given their current form, good results are not quite so easy to come by.
If they can win both of those games, they’d be on 17 points after 10 games, having taken more than half the points available to them so far but anything less than two victories leaves them in dangerous territory heading into the winter months when the fixtures start to pile up and the games come at them thick and fast.
Currently, the Red Devils are just eight points off the top and five points off Manchester City in fourth place but that kind of deficit at such an early stage of the season leaves them with little or no room for error from now on. Yes, other teams will drop points but as United will know better than anyone, it’s rare that the team who takes the title loses more than five or six games in the season.
United lost five and drew five out of 38 games played last term – that’s it, that’s all you’ve really got in terms of leeway and, as things stand, United are running out of chances to turn it all around. They must start winning games and they must keep that up for the next seven months – they cannot afford to drop many more points and they are skating on very very thin ice in this title race.
image: © nasmac