What else could stop Manchester United from Winning the EPL?
They were leading by 4-2 at Old Trafford with 7 minutes to go. Roberto Mancini might have already conceded the title. A miracle happened and Premier League title slipped away from United’s hand. There are still more than a dozen of games to go until the faith of the trophy will be decided, but Manchester United once again find themselves on the front foot, with Mancini losing his favourite Mario, as well as his superiority in Etihad Stadium. However, by no means the race has ended. There are hurdles that Sir Alex still has to bring his team through…
(a) Porous goalkeepers — David De Gea is an excellent shot-stopper, but is proved to be vulnerable at crosses and long balls. Giving away cheap goals is the least thing one wants to see late in the season. Reserve goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard is yet to show his ability in big occasions. Sir Alex spent six years in the post-Schmeichel era before identifying the perfect replacement – Van der Sar. He would not look for an encore this time. No wonder Manchester United is rumoured to be interested in Asmir Begovic.
(b) Defensive woes — Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand cannot play two intensives games in one week again. Johnny Evans has just returned from injury, while Phil Jones will be out for a month. With Fletcher shelved for the season, Michael Carrick is the sole fit defensive midfielder. Paul Scholes can never turn the clock back; Anderson, Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley are too adventurous to provide shielding for the defense. United’s defensive record is one of the worst in recent years, and they could not expect Van Persie to rescue them every time.
(c) Tougher is yet to come — Putting aside the clash with Real Madrid in Champions League, the remaining League fixtures remain tough. United escaped at the Etihad Stadium, White Hart Lane, as well as at home against Liverpool and Newcastle United with some below average performance. They will need more than this in the coming two months. West Ham, Sunderland, Stoke City, Arsenal are awaiting for their visit, with a home clash against Manchester City and Chelsea to be played closer to the end of season. Do not forget they would be distracted by Champions League campaign, which Roberto Mancini has already expressed his “sincere” support towards his city rivals. A moment of complacency could lead to a quick vanish of the 9 points gap.
(d) Lesson learnt, pressure to bear — Yes they may have learnt the lesson, but what would be in their minds when they march into April in a similar circumstance? It will be a stern test to their youngster’s mental strengths. Manchester City’s players have the experience of being the underdog, or maybe even enjoy being one. You cannot write them off until the very last second of the season.
Roberto Mancini has been active in media coverage, trying to put more pressure onto the lads at Old Trafford. Why? Because Everton is visiting this Sunday…