Heading into December, a 21st Premier League title could be in Manchester United’s grasp.
Yes, this seemed improbable after a poor start to the season, and it would take a lot to fall in United’s favour.
Ultimately this is what United have to be aiming for. A top four place was adequate last season. Now the team should be setting sights higher.
This could look misguided in a few months time, but right now, in the moment of where we are, United should be optimistic and ambitious.
Here is a look at five reasons United have a chance to win the Premier League this season…
The league is wide open
This season’s title race is as wide open as the Premier League has been since Leicester City’s shock upset win in 2015/16.
Liverpool have been badly hit with injuries. Some would say their luck has run out. Jurgen Klopp has reverted to blaming everything around him.
City, Tottenham and Chelsea are in the mix yet each suffer their own bouts of inconsistency.
There is no runaway leader and United are right in the mix, having come through our own early rough patch of form.
The win over Southampton takes United into 8th place, with a game in hand against 18th placed Burnley.
If United were to play and win that game in hand right now, it would take us into third place, just two points back from leaders Tottenham and Liverpool.
The league is wide open, and having overturned a big gap of 13 points to finish third last season, a two point gap to first place is nothing.
Strong away form
The backbone of United’s success this season has been strong away form, with four wins from four.
This is no fluke, with four away wins at the end of last season too. United have come from behind to win all four this campaign.
The only problem has been the home form, but this is beginning to turn around. United have won two Champions League games by a combined 9-1 scoreline at Old Trafford, so it is only a matter of time before it clicks in the Premier League.
Once United start hitting form at home, to combine with the strong away form, the rest of the league are in trouble.
Strong squad depth
This is going to be a marathon of a season. We are in the midst of a 12 game stretch in a 37 day period. It doesn’t slow down much after that either.
Injuries are beginning to stack up, as they will at all clubs. United are better placed than most to cope.
Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw were all missing from the squad with minor injuries at the weekend, and United coped.
There are even the likes of Jesse Lingard, Brandon Williams and Eric Bailly who have barely played this season, yet are ready if called upon.
Amad Traore and Facundo Pellistri may even play a part in the second half of the campaign, while up front, United have four top quality strikers battling for places.
United have the strength in depth to cope with the fixture list and pick up results with some consistency.
Many players yet to peak
After practically no pre-season, United have taken a little while to get going.
Aside from Bruno Fernandes, there are not too many players who you would look at and say they are hitting top form.
The best is yet to come from this United side. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood are all capable of better than they have displayed this season.
Edinson Cavani is only just getting started, as is Donny van de Beek. Paul Pogba has yet to hit form.
Sooner or later all of these players will start hitting peak form and United are going to start blowing teams away.
It feels like this team is just getting warmed up and individually, players are only scratching the surface of what they are capable of.
United have some real leaders in the side, players with experience like Cavani, Telles and Van de Beek who have all won titles abroad. This will help.
Run-in experience gained
One interesting aspect to last season is nobody knows how Liverpool will cope under pressure, because they did not have any last season.
If United can get into a title race down the final stretch, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad should have some confidence.
Last season United were locked in an intense three-way battle with Chelsea and Leicester in the final games for a top four place, which made every single point matter, with pressure on whoever played second.
United came through this particular challenge and finished top of this mini-group.
If Solskjaer’s side are in a tight battle for first place in the final five or six games, this experience will help. There is no reason to think the team will wilt under the pressure.
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