In a little over two months, Manchester United have missed five opportunities to make ground on Chelsea.

The two clubs are battling for fourth place in the Premier League. A win for United at Stamford Bridge reopened a race which looked to be fizzling out. Now the clubs are separated by only three points.

But United could be comfortably in the top four by now. A 1-1 draw at Everton was yet another missed opportunity after Chelsea drew against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. The Reds had a day to ponder the chance but a mixed performance left them with only one point at Goodison Park.

Missed opportunities for United

  • January 1st: Chelsea draw, United lose
  • January 18th: Chelsea lose, United lose
  • January 21st: Chelsea draw, United lose
  • February 1st: Chelsea draw, United draw
  • March 1st: Chelsea draw, United draw

It’s five chances in two months. United could be as many as eight points clear of Chelsea by now.

In fairness, it’s impossible to expect United to win every game. But it shows just how easy it could have been for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to break into the top four and become favourites to finish there at the end of the season.

WAYNE ROONEY TO EVERTON IS A JOKE.

Manchester United's Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Manchester United, north west England on March 1, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  Top four battle Premier League.
(Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

United’s draw at Everton was the perfect example. Solskjaer’s team played well in the first half but had been left trailing within three minutes by an inexplicable David De Gea mistake. Bruno Fernandes equalised and United should have led by the break.

United should have won at Everton after good first half

After coming out for the second half, Everton were a rejuvenated side and United looked far worse. A missed opportunity to kick on in and take the win, which would have seen the Reds leapfrog Chelsea into fourth.

United now prepare for a very tough March fixture list. Forgetting the inclusion of at least one FA Cup fixture and two UEFA Europa League games against LASK, United will play Man City, Tottenham and Sheffield United.

Season-defining fixtures coming up for Solskjaer

Those three games are season-defining and, with Chelsea playing Everton now, potentially give another possibility to gain points.

If Chelsea drop points against Everton in the Sunday 2pm kick-off, United must capitalise against rivals City in the 4:30pm match.

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