Getty Images

The Warm-Up: Can Manchester United win the league?

The Warm-Up: Can Manchester United win the league?

31/12/2018 at 15:35Updated 31/12/2018 at 17:28

Plus, how big will the Liverpool wobble be? North London regresses to the mean and Andy Carroll in a tracksuit AT A WEDDING.

MONDAY’S BIG STORIES

Can Manchester United win the league?

The Warm-Up is aghast to inform you dear reader that you have been duped by the phenomenon called click bait right here.

Amazing.

Anyway, just to be clear, nah, course they can't. That's today's New Year's Eve special Warm-Up done and dusted then. All the best. Have a cracking New Year.

In all seriousness, Manchester United have two chances of winning the league this year: no chance and absolutely no chance. However, they should be able to get their hands on some silverware, mind. That is right, the Greatest Club in the World are set to battle it out for the Top Four trophy. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Trolling aside, there is a serious point in there - Manchester United are supposed to be one of Europe's elite clubs, and are a financial behemoth, so how or why has the club been allowed to drift to the extent that it feels a little too natural that they are languishing outside the top four.

They have rolled through three managers and the bones of a billion quid trying to find any sort of stability since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Eric Cantona (left) became a central figure within the United squad after being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in November 1992. (Peter Wilcock/PA Images)

Eric Cantona (left) became a central figure within the United squad after being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in November 1992. (Peter Wilcock/PA Images)PA Sport

The above suggests that the issues at the club run a little deeper than the manager. The innards of the club are rotten. It is badly run. Now, Solskjaer has proven a fillip but United need a complete overhaul if they are to once again become a force in the league. And that is from the ownership down - as long as they are run primarily as a commercial enterprise then they'll struggle.

The genius of Ferguson papered over the cracks but his genius brought problems of its own - it allowed the issues of the Glazer ownership to fester.

It is a long way back to the top: just ask Liverpool, which allows for a tenuous link to their title bid.

How big will the Liverpool wobble be?

Jurgen Klopp (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) meet again next week

Jurgen Klopp (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) meet again next weekPA Sport

Liverpool look a shoo-in to win the league. They are frugal at the back, frenetic in midfield and frightening up front.

However, as anyone who has ever spent nine solid hours watching the Premier League Years will tell you, every team in a Premier League title race has a wobble. It may as well be in the laws of the game. City have had their wobble, and Tottenham have a nosebleed every time they get anywhere near the top of the league.

So, the big question is, how big will the Liverpool wobble be? A seven-point lead at this stage of the season is huge.

To The Warm-Up's mind, this Liverpool team are just too well balanced to have a seven-plus point wobble, and the worrying thing for the rest of the league is that they might have another gear to click into.

Summer signings Fabinho and Naby Keita are yet to really find their groove. Throw their guile into the mix and, well, you are looking at a side without a peer across Europe.

They will wobble. It always happens but Jurgen Klopp has created a team with near perfect balance to see said wobble off. The Warm-Up is calling it, get the t-shirts printed, they've won the league.

North London regresses to the mean

Unai Emery

Unai EmeryPA Sport

Both north London clubs regressed to the mean this weekend as both have overachieved thus far this year. Therefore, Arsenal's 5-1 pasting by Liverpool and Tottenham's 3-1 defeat to Wolves are not the doomsday defeats some have presented them as.

Arsenal finished sixth last season because they couldn't defend. This season, they can't defend but went on a 22-game unbeaten run. That's impressive, but ultimately against elite opposition an inability to defend will cost you and so it proved against Liverpool. The Gunners have enough quality to make the top four - finish there and Unai Emery will have had a solid first season but will need to overhaul that defence this summer.

Across north London, well technically west London, Tottenham sit third. A decent return for a club who spent absolutely jack this summer. However, Spurs enter the New Year with a sense of opportunity missed after Saturday's defeat against Wolves, where, having recently been upgraded to title contenders, they lost to a newly promoted team on the first inspection of their title credentials.

However, much like Arsenal, a top-four finish should be the aim.

IN THE CHANNELS (and maybe the dog house)

Andy Carroll larging it on OK! Magazine's Twitter feed at his finance's sister's wedding in a tracksuit is The Warm-Up's jam.

However, The Warm-Up is not a whole heap of sure how much it will be Billi Mucklow's jam.

HEROES AND ZEROES

Hero – Paul Pogba

Here stands a man so assured of his own excellence and so committed to winding Graeme Souness up that he practises forthcoming celebrations during the pre-match Warm-Up.

Has anyone checked in on Graeme?

ZERO – Lionel Messi

One trick pony.

RETRO CORNER

Who remembers the day Ronaldinho got a standing ovation from the Bernabeu? You don't? Well, The Warm-Up has got you.

COMING UP…

…Jack Lang is the hero Eurosport needs but does not deserve as he has taken on a New Year's Day Warm-Up special.

0
0