Yesterdays last gasp win against Bolton was a significant result for United for a number of reasons. We underperformed for a lot of the game (just like a lot of our games this season), allowing Bolton to squander a number of semi-decent chances. We (deservedly) went down to ten men thanks to a studs-up 50/50 challenge by Jonny Evans. Yet again we pulled something out of the bag and snatched another two points from what was desperately looking like a home draw. Couple this with Arsenal solidifying their statuses as the worse bottlers in the league by drawing with West Brom, and it should be considered a successful day. More importantly than all the above, I believe that the results of yesterdays games have almost confirmed that United will win the league in 2011.
‘Madness!’ I hear you say. ‘How can you make such a statement with so many games left?’ I hear you ask. I can almost see the Gooners collective heads exploding at such an outrageous statement. Well obviously I can’t predict the future and I can’t guarantee anything but let me explain my reasoning behind my bold statement. I’ll start with Chelsea. They are the reigning champions and with United, they know what title charges are made of. They are currently on 51 points with 10 games to play, including today’s match against City. For the sake of arguing, lets say they win all ten of their remaining games, which includes a trip to Old Trafford, that would leave them on 81 points. It’s highly unlikely that they would win all ten, but lets say they do. That leaves 81 points as the bar to achieve so far. As City are on 53 points with 9 games remaining, the most they can achieve is 80 points. With the chances of City winning all their remaining games slimmer than Bibotelli being able to get himself dressed in the morning, I’m not even going to discuss them in this (sorry City fans, maybe next year).
Arsenal are currently on 58 points and have 9 games remaining, which gives them a total of 85 points, if they won all of their games. The Arsenal team of the past month have looked like a deflated, tired, ready to retire old race horse. Desperately clinging to glories of past and unable to find their form of earlier in the season. They have been knocked out of three competitions in March, losing one final to a Birmingham team who currently sit 18 places below them in the league. They are currently going through a calamitous freak show for who wears the number 1 shirt in the run-in with current favourite Manuel Almunia playing as if he is auditioning for a part a The Three Stooges movie. Out of their remaining nine games, the key fixtures are Liverpool and United at the Emirates and Spurs and Bolton away. Spurs and Bolton are extremely tough fixtures at the best of times, but with the form Arsenal currently find themselves in, I’d say walking away with more than three points from those fixtures would be a tough ask. Liverpool have seemingly lost the ability to play football unless it’s against United, Arsenal or Chelsea so they will be looking for all three points against Arsenal to ensure they get in the Europa League. This leaves the United game at the Emirates a massive game for them. A must win game if ever there was one. Unfortunately for Arsenal, United seemingly have their number over the past few seasons, especially when the game is an important one. So back to the maths. To make that magical 81 points mark, Arsenal can only drop 4 more points. Can anyone realistically see Arsenal only dropping four points from the four games I have mentioned? No, me neither. Personally I think the form they are in they will be lucky to get four points from those games. This would obviously leave Arsenal shy of the 81 point mark.
Regardless of what anyone else does, United are the league leaders and our destiny is in our own hands. We currently have 63 points with 8 games left leaving us with a possible total of 87 points. Our remaining home games are Fulham, Everton, Chelsea and Blackpool. I’m of firm believe that we can beat any team in the world at Old Trafford, even with our current form. I’d fully expect us to take maximum points from the Fulham, Everton and Blackpool, and I’d happily settle for a draw against Chelsea. The key is how we perform in our away games, which as every United fan knows, have been painstakingly awful to watch all season. Our away games are against West Ham, Arsenal, Blackburn and Newcastle. Luckily, two of our remaining away games are typically decent results for us in Blackburn and Newcastle leaving 6 points from these two games a decent prospect. West Ham away however is not exactly filled with happy memories. They are in decent form at the moment, fighting for Premier League survival, so I’d take a draw from this fixture (although a win would be a massive result for us). I’d also be happy with a draw at Arsenal as this would leave us no worse off against potentially our closest rivals. That’s three draws and 5 wins from our remaining 8 games to make it to the 81 point mark. Very, very achievable.
Obviously the 81 point mark was set by the highly unlikely event of Chelsea winning all of their 10 games so the chances are the required points total will be less than that. My point is that if you break our remaining fixtures down, and the fixtures of our rivals, then mathematically we stand and outstanding chance of re-capturing the Premier League title this season, and knocking the scousers right off their f***ing pirch!