Manchester United are in a perilous situation and seemingly have no hope of catching Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester City at the summit.
Manchester United trail the division leaders, Arsenal, by 13 points and, if history is anything to go by, it is an insurmountable margin.
Manchester United travel to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa on Sunday, December 15 with reasons to be cheerful… they have Wayne Rooney who has a great personal record against the Villans having scored eight from his last ten matches against them, collectively they have a great record against their hosts winning 25, drawing nine and only losing one in their last 35 encounters in the league and Villas last win at home against United in the Premier Leauge was on the opening day of the 1995 season.
However, United's recent inability to capture form - they have not won since their 1-0 victory over Arsenal, they dropped points at Cardiff, Tottenham and lost at home to Everton and Newcastle United - has virtually doomed their pre-season ambitions of retaining the Premier League title.
According to Premier League statistics: 'No team has ever come back from 13 or more points adrift, having played the same number of matches (15), to win the Barclays Premier League title.'
With Arsenal taking on United's local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, though, if United cut that points differential to ten by the end of the weekend, could they do the unimagineable? And would it represent a greater league success than any of the title wins achieved by David Moyes' predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson?
image: © ell brown