Dec 28, 2012, 2:22 PM EDT
Halfway through the English Premier League season, it’s so tempting to wonder if Manchester United’s highly flawed defense will eventually be the undoing of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men?
Consider that the league leaders have found a way to trail in 57.9 percent of their matches – a truly startling statistic that should strike everyone as very un-leader-like. Especially when you hold it up against a far weaker side like Aston Villa. Even a team that’s doing everything lately except standing aside while the opposition fires away, Villa has been on the bad side of a lead in only 52.6 percent. (Those figures come courtesy of The Guardian.)
The question for me, however, is this: does any team really have the horses to make up the ground? The lead over Man City currently stands at seven points.
I just cannot see Manchester City getting there. There just seems too much wrong with the current title holders. Not “wrong” as in “they aren’t very good.” There’s plenty of talent – but they just don’t seem as stable as a title defender needs to be. There’s too much collective ordinary about it all.
Perhaps they just need one swashbuckling result, something like the head-turner Manchester United just concocted, that thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 win over Newcastle. That’s the kind of win where you look at a team and say, “They’ve got the belief. They have the fight. They have that doggone ‘something extra’ that it’s going to take.”
Problem is, that’s Manchester United we are talking about, not Manchester City. One team has it; one team might … but needs to get busy showing it.
Chelsea is the side that looks more able to make up the ground, perhaps able to use the recent run as a catapult to pull close enough and to then apply some pressure to Ferguson’s men in the spring.
Rafa Benitez’s boys have won six of their last seven; the one loss was to Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup final. They have won their last three EPL contest by a combined 14-1.
This weekend’s biggie at Goodison Park against Everton will tell us a lot. If the Blues get through this one with a result, they’ll go flying into the New Year, sights firmly affixed to Ferguson’s back side.
At the very least, Sunday’s match in Liverpool will have something to say about which of these teams (it could be both, of course) finish among the top four.
May 23, 2013, 8:44 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 7:16 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 6:35 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 5:11 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 3:56 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 3:33 PM EDT
Anyone else bothered by the way Bayern Munich have conducted themselves ahead of this Saturday’s Champions League final?
May 23, 2013, 2:39 PM EDT
Sunderland’s central defender will say goodbye to the English Premier League in exchange for a switch stateside.
May 23, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 1:37 PM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
The city’s decision to permit Columbus to wear angers Espanyol fans, who believe Barca receives too much support from local institutions.
May 23, 2013, 11:22 AM EDT
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May 23, 2013, 10:04 AM EDT
With Arsenal rumored to be courting Swansea center-back Ashley Williams, Thomas Vermaelen has some decisions to make.
May 22, 2013, 11:51 PM EDT
Serie A’s two Milanese clubs have yet to move for new head coaches.
May 22, 2013, 11:06 PM EDT
Over the last three months, Rafa Benítez has reignited a floundering career.
May 22, 2013, 10:14 PM EDT
The hits just keep on coming for the NWSL’s hard-luck team.
May 22, 2013, 9:20 PM EDT
The U.S. Open Cup draws sometimes need a decoder ring to decipher. Here’s a quick-and-dirty look at the MLS teams’ futures.
May 22, 2013, 8:17 PM EDT
If PSG’s willing to take Rooney’s wages of their hands, Manchester United can justify moving on.
May 22, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Houston’s defensive leader sees his banned doubled by the Disciplinary Committee.
May 22, 2013, 6:47 PM EDT
Tom Sermanni has brought new talent into the national team, but it’s too early to know the extent to which the U.S.’s roster will see new faces.
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