As the Premier League season passes the halfway stage it is more than obvious that Manchester United are in the driving seat, but it is also clear to see they are stuck in fourth gear.
The Red Devils have been riding on a wave of luck, mainly given to them by ludicrous amounts of extra time being added on by referee’s and goals from a certain cheeky Mexican, Xavi ’Chicharito’ Hernandez.
That seemingly elusive fifth gear has been evident with thumping wins over Blackburn and Birmingham showing that they are still capable of embarrassing teams. However draws against Fulham, West Brom and Aston Villa bring back the fact they aren’t playing to their full potential.
Yet up until the weekend it did seem unfair to criticise a team who were still unbeaten. Thankfully Wolves exposed some of their woeful play in a game that saw Manchester United beaten for the first time and it won’t be the last.
Gary Neville has given the red side of Manchester a chance now he has hung up those worn out, washed up boots. It is surprising it took him half the season to realise he was no longer up to the standard of the Premiership.
It could have been a lot worse though, in games against Stoke and West Brom, he should have been sent off but United grabbed the benefits and scrapped through those games, again with late goals, and again with an unconvincing style.
Before people start to pile up on a very angry band wagon, what has been said previously is not criticising Neville’s career. In fact, it is safe to say he is the best right-back England has ever had and with the likes of Glen Johnson now occupying the role he will most likely keep that title!
Anyway, the article has digressed, back to United’s slippery path to the title. No one in their right mind would look to the manager to find the reason for their form (which is mainly poor away from home) so it must be the players.
Still falling over if there is a gust of wind, or tripping over an out of place blade of grass, Nani has been just above average. Only Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov can really be called star players this season. They are missing Patrice Evra marauding down the left and feisty youngster Rafael da Silva seems too busy hacking down the opposition to bolster the attack (we do need to remember who his mentor is though, Mr. G Neville).
Still, they are top of league and only one question remains. Will United win the Premier League title outright, or will the teams chasing continue to hand it to them?