When Manchester United were in the doldrums after only ten games it was not looking good and fans, my self-included, were starting to doubt the great Dutch man could affect change at the club. As we approach the busy festive period United find themselves on a run of four games without defeat. Wins against Stoke, Hull, Arsenal and Crystal Palace have helped United climb into the top five of the table, however, with Arsenal being the only one of those teams in the top half of the table optimism needs keeping in check.
It is worth noting that both Southampton and West Ham are currently above United in the Premier League table. I am not sure which of those two teams will be more surprised at their current league position. However, I am sure Big Sam Allardyce will be revelling in West Ham’s league position and will be fighting tooth and nail to keep the club in the top four.
Whether the Saints and the Hammers can sustain a top four place is debatable and we all know how gruelling a premier league season is, especially if your squad depth leaves a lot to be desired. Before the winning run of the last four games United’s previous six games produced only two wins. So, it is nice to see the change in fortune but the question that keeps raising its head is how the team will do against the top three? On the second of November we lost to the blue half of Manchester and despite beating Arsenal two weeks ago few consider Arsenal a top three team, let alone a top five one looking at results so far.
The one nil loss to City can be put down to bad luck and when big teams meet one mistake can cost you the game. That said, United have had many a season were they have won games despite playing badly which is the sign of a championship winning side. Sir Alex Ferguson was able to fashion teams that could get a result despite being outplayed. Van Gaal is a real grafter and he appears to be building a team of grafters. Realistically, we can now look forward to a top five finish, Europe should be a certainly for United but whether that is Champions or Europa League is another question.
Only time will tell but this United fan is seeing signs of brighter future than could have been imagined 12 months ago.