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Manchester United Comment: Will the Premier League Title Return to Old Trafford?


Nani of Manchester United (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

After the last-minute goal from Sergio Aguero to give Manchester City the Premier League title in 2011/12, Manchester United look poised as ever to reclaim what they believe is rightfully theirs this season.  With the addition of Robin van Persie this summer, who also leads the EPL by 19 goals, the potent United attack is almost unmatchable.

Twelve games remain in the Red Devils’ domestic season and while the Champions League and FA Cup have taken the forefront of the club’s attention, the league title is within sight.  After twenty-six matches, United sit comfortably in first place (21-2-3) on 65 points, while their crosstown rivals City are in second (15-8-3), twelve points behind the leaders.

Despite being twelve points clear with twelve matches left, this is no time to take the foot off the gas for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.  United still have to face both City and Chelsea at Old Trafford in the remaining schedule, as well as travel to the Emirates and face the streaky Gunners.

Yet, the competition does not end with the “bigger” clubs, as emerging elites Swansea City, Stoke City and Norwich City have all tested the Red Devils this season.  Let us not forget United dropped points at Carrow Road, narrowly beat Reading back in December, and drew the Swans in their last meeting.

As Sir Alex Ferguson continues his lineup juggling act in the final push, he strongly believes his makeup of players can challenge for the fabled treble. Defender Chris Smalling has insisted that the Scottish manager has set his sights that high this term (via The Independent):

“The manager has stressed that he expects to go to the end in all three competitions.”

Even former City boss Peter Reid believes Sir Alex’s men have what it takes to bring home their 20th EPL title (via Mail Online):

“Champions win football matches [...] Manchester United have done it and Manchester City haven’t and that’s the bottom line.”

Success this season in the Premier League has not come without a few hiccups along the way. Certainly the manager would be upset with defensive lapses in Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and even David De Gea. But, as the season progresses it seems as if the back-line is tightening up quite rapidly.

Ryan Giggs has had another stellar campaign, providing both poise late in matches and a never-say-die attitude which has prolonged his career.  The 39-year-old does not look like stopping yet, and one final push for a treble could make it a bit easier for the Welshman to go out on top.

Even though the gap between United and City looks quite pleasing to Red Devil fans, the eight-point lead Ferguson’s men blew last season should be on their minds.

The Red Devils have seen much improvement this season through what seems to be the perfect mix between young and old. Johnny Evans and Smalling are able to thrive under Ferdinand and Vidic’s reign, while Tom Cleverley has been able learn from one of the best in the business in Paul Scholes.

As for the attack, RvP offers not only a goal-scoring punch, but has allowed Wayne Rooney to develop into a more complete player. The Englishman has seen much success as his Dutch counterpart draws defenders to his side, allowing the deeper-lying forward to unleash on goal.

Moreover, it boils down to a simple school-yard rule — practice how you want to play.  Van Persie has credited compatriot Rene Meulensteen (first-team coach) as the key ingredient to United’s success this season (via The Telegraph):

“He is truly one of the best coaches in the world.  I have had a lot of good trainers, but it’s the way he prepares our team for games.  Every match is different, so every training session in the build-up to games is unique.”

Coupled with the excellent training sessions, and the focused eye to detail, Meulensteen seems to bring out the best of the first-team.

With additional competition in the squad every week, Sir Alex has had the luxury of resting big name players. Youngsters like Danny Welbeck have come onto the scene, along with Chicharito rediscovering his form.  It seems as if a more competition within the squad, the more successful United are in terms of results.

Although Roberto Mancini’s side sit way below United and were embarrassed in Champions League group play, a possible final push for silverware could still be in order.  And, we must not forget after the recent FA Cup draw, United and City could potentially meet at Wembley.

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