After an extended festive break Ed & Paul have five games to review, including a disappointing run of results in both league and cup before the turn of the year. That changed with United’s victory over Everton at Goodison Park and an FA Cup win against Derby County.
“It is as bad as a defeat,” admitted José Mourinho after Leicester City scored a last-minute equaliser at the King Power Stadium on Saturday night. Manchester United created the best chances and spent 20 minutes with a man advantage, yet left the East Midlands feeling despondent. Two disastrous results inside three days will do that. As for José: he threw his players under the bus. Twice.
Two wins in a week following last weekend’s derby-day defeat, yet neither quite got Jose Mourinho’s side back on track. With the Premier League title race all but over, United’s victories over Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion felt as flat as the Reds’ performance.
This pod would have been a lot more fun had Ed & Paul known about José Mourinho’s Manchester City dressing room incursion and the subsequent 20-man brawl. As it is, there’s a downbeat tone after the Blues comfortably beat United at Old Trafford. It leaves an 11-point gap at the top of the Premier League and the title probably heading towards the Etihad.
Well, that’s better. The narrative surrounding José Mourinho’s side had become a little negative, not least because of United’s defeat at Stamford Bridge last month. Two resounding victories at Watford and then Arsenal have changed all that.
Michael Carrick did not feature in Manchester United’s handsome victories at Watford or Arsenal. The 35-year-old is still regaining fitness after a spell on the sidelines following detection of a worrying heart condition back in September. One suspects that the veteran midfielder will be enjoying the performances of fellow Englishmen Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard though; two revivalists enjoying life under José Mourinho. Not just because of Young’s successful reinvention as a decent left-back, or Lingard’s ascent to become United’s number 10, but the way each has transformed to get ahead. After all, Carrick is an avid student of the game.
Yo, naysayers claiming that Paul Pogba is over-rated, too expensive and never turns up! Get. Back. In. Your. Box. Pogba is back. Bigger, stronger, and better than ever before. Boy did United miss him.
José Mourinho’s side never recovered from October’s international break, or more specifically, autumn’s momentum was shattered as the Portuguese sent his high-flying team out to defend at Anfield on 14 October. In the interim Mourinho’s side has failed to convince in any of the six league and cup fixtures since the bore draw on Merseyside. Victory over Tottenham Hotspur was hard-won, but defeats to Huddersfield Town and Chelsea have left United well off the Premier League pace. As November’s break comes to a close, the Reds face 13 fixtures between now and the end of the year. It’s a period that won’t make United’s season, but it could certainly break it.
It has been a busy fortnight since the last Rant Cast. José Mourinho’s side lost at Stamford Bridge – again – the manager criticised the fans – again – and everybody was bored by the international break – again.