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.
We’ll always have Wembley and Stockholm. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header, Paul Pogba’s long-range strike, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s flicked finish. These are the feel-good moments that football fans savour – the stuff from which memories are made. They’ll be more of these moments under José Mourinho. After all, he has spent a career hoovering up trophies. Mourinho has also spent much of the past two decades combusting in the most spectacular fashion. It’s never a good look and the writing for José’s Manchester United future is already on the wall.
Victory for José Mourinho’s side against Tottenham Hotspur, so why was the United manager so animated post-match? Ed & Paul look back on a crucial victory at Old Trafford, together with games against Benfica, Swansea City and Huddersfield.
It has a been a tough couple of weeks at Manchester United. First, that limp draw with Liverpool at Anfield, then the narrow but unsatisfying victory over Benfica, and finally that traumatic defeat at Huddersfield Town last weekend. Victory over Swansea City in the League Cup ensured that the wheels didn’t come off United’s season, but the positivity associated with the new campaign has rapidly dissipated. It is not a good sign ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday.