At the start of the season not many people will have predicted that Manchester United will have been trailing the Premier League leaders by 12 points after 14 games.
Not many, even fewer will have predicted them to be sitting in ninth place in the table either. Even with the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson from the managerial dugout, Manchester United were thought to be at least contenders for the title, with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea probably being a bit too strong for them.
Arsenal are the side leading the way and have only dropped eight points so far this season, whereas Manchester United have so far dropped 20. So how many more points can United realistically afford to drop to still be able to pull off a remarkable recovery and claim a 21st league title come May?
With 114 points on offer in a season, and 94 remains the maximum total that David Moyes’ side can reach this season. United won the title with a final total of 89 last season, the same total that landed Manchester City the crown the season before.
The only time when the title has been won with a points total in the low 80’s in recent years was in 2011 by United, who took 80 points – you would have to back to 1999 for a lower winning total of 79.
Given the nature of the trend of the high points totals between 86 and 90 points could be enough to deliver the title this season meaning that United at best can only afford to drop eight points in their remaining 24 games.
However, if Arsenal continue at the rate they are going, they stand to hit 92 points, though some will say they can’t keep it up forever, in fact they have faced many doubters so far. But if they did continue at the same rate, it would mean United could only afford to drop two points in their remaining 24 games.
Does last night’s result mean they’re out of the title race? If the numbers from recent years are anything to go by then United need to start and winning against Newcastle and to keep winning.
image: © Nasmac