Top 4 race / race abandoned (or maybe not) / Leicester & Chelsea in the process of bottling it

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Perhaps true. But City have a track record of consistent top 4 finishes for a fair few years now (and mostly top 2), so I don't see them falling off sufficiently this season.
Ah, okay.

Yet another example of the goalposts being shifted to make favourable forecasts for clubs that aren’t United.

As I said recently on here, I’m happy for United to continue making good strides but be written off.
 

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Writing off a United team currently on a 4 game winning streak in the league is equally bizarre.
Couldn’t agree more. I’m writing off no one this season, as it’s one of those campaigns that about five or six teams who could win it this season.

I personally still think there’s a bit of clear water between Liverpool and the rest, and they’ve actually managed the injuries they’ve had with minimal fuss.

I do think United are the most widely written off team though, with plenty of comments suggesting the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and City can all wage a challenge.

The fact is, our underlying form is pretty strong now, and I believe a hammering by Tottenham – exacerbated by an early red – is continuing to negatively colour perceptions.

People have made their minds up that we can’t challenge and refuse to budge from that view now.

Think being under zero pressure may well suit us.
 

CM10

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The table does seem to be taking shape now. Last season's top 6 now occupy the top 6 positions again. We're doing quite well to be in the position we are now given how poorly we started the season.

We've got a bit of a rep for being inconsistent and flaky but I don't think we'll be the only ones who stutter. Unfortunately for us, it looks like City are coming back into a bit of form just in time for the derby.
 

AltiUn

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I think top 4 will be Liverpool, Chelsea, City guaranteed with 4th place going to either Tottenham or United.

We've rode our luck at times but picking up points when you aren't playing well is important, especially without any pre-season compared to our rivals. I can't see Tottenham replicating this efficiency all season, Son has 10 goals to an expected 3.88, for example. In fact Tottenham have heavily been overperforming their xG and xGA so far this season (5.61 more goals than their xG) and have an additional 6.09 points more than they're expected which suggests their performances will regress to the mean sooner or later. Their early season form is very reminiscent of Leicester last season.

Chelsea are the only team currently performing to their level points wise, I think a lot of the underlying stats such as their shots conceded per 90 are also very favourable so I can't see them tailng off. Liverpool are slightly overperforming but I think their average level of player is so high that it doesn't matter, I just don't think they'll walk the league at a canter. City, on the other hand, are underperforming in virtually every category so annoyingly it looks like this bleak spell isn't going to last. It's worth noting they're not massively under performing so I don't think we'll be seeing a team anywhere near as good as the Centurions but they aren't as bad as some of their results suggest.

The early season underlying stats don't look great from our perspective, we've got 4.22 more points than we should have at this stage and we've also conceded 2.88 more than we should have conceded. We've also scored an additional 3.90 goals more than expected which I'd imagine is due to Rashford and Fernandes's excellent form. What gives me optimism is that we know, as we showed last season after lockdown, that we can be much better than this. Pogba and Martial are some of our best players yet are bang out of form, they're bound to hit form sooner or later. We also did our transfer business really late so our new signings are naturally taking longer to bed in. I can see us getting gradually stronger throughout the season and finishing very strongly.
 
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Random Task

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I think the top 4 will be Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and City, though in what order I don't know.

I reckon United will just miss out and that their current points total, even taking the game in hand into account, flatters to deceive ... which their GD total tends to indicate. All in all I don't think they'll be consistent enough to make it.
That we're a mere five points off the top with a game in hand, after what has been our worst start to the PL since it's inception, tells me that the competition is surprisingly weak. Finishing in the top four will be relatively easy if the team can find some form similar to the second half of last season.

It's difficult to say which way it will go as our team picks and chooses when to turn up. Whether that's a coaching issue or something player-related is unknown, but it's likely a combination of both factors.
 

groovyalbert

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That we're a mere five points off the top with a game in hand, after what has been our worst start since the inception of the PL, tells me that the competition is surprisingly weak. Finishing in the top four will be relatively easy if the team can find some form similar to the second half of last season.

It's difficult to say which way it will go as our team picks and chooses when to turn up. Whether that's a coaching issue or something player-related is unknown, but it's likely a combination of both factors.
I'm not sure - I think a lot of teams have taken time to find their feet this season, but the table is starting to even itself out now.

The likes of Everton, Villa and Wolves are slipping into more recognisable positions, and the top 6 is looking pretty familiar.

Chelsea, Pool, Spurs and City are all finding more consistency and control in games, and although we've ground out results recently, these haven't come all that easily.

If we lose to City, then we could start to slip behind a bit, and a game in hand is no guarantee of anything.

I'm confident we'll be top 6, but whether we can take the place of one of Spurs, Pool, Chelsea and City in the top 4 - let alone Leicester - will be very difficult. Ultimately it's looking like the significant activity of Chelsea and Spurs in the summer has allowed them to step ahead of us this time around.
 

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Couldn’t agree more. I’m writing off no one this season, as it’s one of those campaigns that about five or six teams who could win it this season.

I personally still think there’s a bit of clear water between Liverpool and the rest, and they’ve actually managed the injuries they’ve had with minimal fuss.

I do think United are the most widely written off team though, with plenty of comments suggesting the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and City can all wage a challenge.

The fact is, our underlying form is pretty strong now, and I believe a hammering by Tottenham – exacerbated by an early red – is continuing to negatively colour perceptions.

People have made their minds up that we can’t challenge and refuse to budge from that view now.

Think being under zero pressure may well suit us.
I think there was the Brighton game, and there may have been one other, where United didn't look all that great but still scraped a win in around that Spurs game that also skew the perception, because before the current winning streak there was the loss to Palace, then the Brighton followed by the Spurs loss and then a loss to Arsenal a couple of weeks later.

United have been gathering steam ever since that Everton game, bar a couple of European slip ups, and that's with several key players not even performing anywhere near the level expected of them so as far as I'm concerned United have weathered the early season storm and are well positioned for an assault on the summit.
 

AneRu

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When Chelsea and Spurs have a good run of results it’s because they are the real deal. When we do likewise it’s because it’s a fluke.

I am happy for United to continue being written off widely.
Because we don't take too long to sow the seeds of doubt. Results against Southampton and West Ham are great results no doubt but we could wake up Wednesday morning having lost 2 in 4 and out of the CL in a group we topped early on.
 

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Because we don't take too long to sow the seeds of doubt. Results against Southampton and West Ham are great results no doubt but we could wake up Wednesday morning having lost 2 in 4 and out of the CL in a group we topped early on.

Our CL group is comparatively harder than that of our rivals. In five games, we have really only let ourselves down once.
 

Leroy The Red

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What is there to be jealous of? Chelsea are looking good, but like last season we are neck and neck with them. There’s this strange narrative around United where their good results are explained away by blind luck but the likes of Spurs and Chelsea apparently have grand plans.
I think there are United fans envious of the transfer business Chelsea did in the summer compared to the nonsense we did. In fact I don’t think it, it is clear.

It’s not a strange narrative, it’s based on what people see with their eyes. Hence why most people are saying it. It’s not an agenda, it’s not a narrative, it’s not bias, it’s what is happening.
Spurs and Chelsea are playing and signed players suited to their style and it’s reflected in their matches.

We’ve kept one clean sheet this season, Chelsea and Spurs have eleven between them. They’re controlling games and look good both defensively and going forward. Meanwhile like I said in a previous post we’ve produced four performances this season that can be easily described as rancid. Whilst in the first half on Saturday we were garbage.

Out of the three clubs who’s likely to keep up the results and who’s likely to not?

The team leaking goals, who still don’t know their strongest team and who regularly fall behind in games ?

Or the two teams keeping clean sheet after clean sheet, averaging two goals a game who know their strongest team. The answer is obvious to anyone who isn’t a tunnel visioned United fan.
 

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I think there are United fans envious of the transfer business Chelsea did in the summer compared to the nonsense we did. In fact I don’t think it, it is clear.

It’s not a strange narrative, it’s based on what people see with their eyes. Hence why most people are saying it. It’s not an agenda, it’s not a narrative, it’s not bias, it’s what is happening.
Spurs and Chelsea are playing and signed players suited to their style and it’s reflected in their matches.

We’ve kept one clean sheet this season, Chelsea and Spurs have eleven between them. They’re controlling games and look good both defensively and going forward. Meanwhile like I said in a previous post we’ve produced four performances this season that can be easily described as rancid. Whilst in the first half on Saturday we were garbage.

Out of the three clubs who’s likely to keep up the results and who’s likely to not?

The team leaking goals, who still don’t know their strongest team and who regularly fall behind in games ?

Or the two teams keeping clean sheet after clean sheet, averaging two goals a game who know their strongest team. The answer is obvious to anyone who isn’t a tunnel visioned United fan.
I personally take a different view because we should really split our league season thus far into distinct phases – start of the season shambles, and then post-Tottenham recovery.

During phase one, we shipped 11 of our 17 goals conceded in just three games: Palace, Brighton and Spurs, which also included two of our three defeats.

In the remaining 7 matches, we have conceded just six, lost just once and started scoring at a really good rate.

I think there’s clear evidence that our form over a prolonged period appears to be on an uptick, but many within our own fan base choose not to see this.
 

Leroy The Red

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I personally take a different view because we should really split our league season thus far into distinct phases – start of the season shambles, and then post-Tottenham recovery.

During phase one, we shipped 11 of our 17 goals conceded in just three games: Palace, Brighton and Spurs, which also included two of our three defeats.

In the remaining 7 matches, we have conceded just six, lost just once and started scoring at a really good rate.

I think there’s clear evidence that our form over a prolonged period appears to be on an uptick, but many within our own fan base choose not to see this.
Haha, we must be the only fanbase who repeatedly split seasons into different sections to suit ourselves.
‘Since Bruno came’ Since January window’ ‘ since Spurs defeat’ ‘Since three games after pre season’.

The clear evidence is indeed that results are improving that can’t be argued but when compared to Chelsea and Spurs they have achieved more well rounded improvement and look better placed to last the course which is what we’re discussing here.

We still start every game the same way, slow, ponderous and then concede. against Southampton and West Ham we conceded the exact same goal.
We’ve improved our league results but then our CL results have gone down the toilet with 2 defeats in 3. Something that wouldn’t have happened had we not started both games in the same pathetic way. We still have a few players going out onto the pitch and stinking the place up yet starting every game.

Our league games are going to get harder over Christmas. If we start games in the fashion we have going into games against city, Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester I dont think they will end as well as the recent one’s have.
 

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Haha, we must be the only fanbase who repeatedly split seasons into different sections to suit ourselves.
‘Since Bruno came’ Since January window’ ‘ since Spurs defeat’ ‘Since three games after pre season’.

The clear evidence is indeed that results are improving that can’t be argued but when compared to Chelsea and Spurs they have achieved more well rounded improvement and look better placed to last the course which is what we’re discussing here.

We still start every game the same way, slow, ponderous and then concede. against Southampton and West Ham we conceded the exact same goal.
We’ve improved our league results but then our CL results have gone down the toilet with 2 defeats in 3. Something that wouldn’t have happened had we not started both games in the same pathetic way. We still have a few players going out onto the pitch and stinking the place up yet starting every game.

Our league games are going to get harder over Christmas. If we start games in the fashion we have going into games against city, Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester I dont think they will end as well as the recent one’s have.
I know you can’t split the season in reality, but when having a discussion on a football forum it serves as a useful way of illustrating a clearly positive trend around our form.

As ever the proof will be in the pudding, so let’s see how it pans out. I see reason to be positive at the moment though.
 

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Couldn’t agree more. I’m writing off no one this season, as it’s one of those campaigns that about five or six teams who could win it this season.

I personally still think there’s a bit of clear water between Liverpool and the rest, and they’ve actually managed the injuries they’ve had with minimal fuss.

I do think United are the most widely written off team though, with plenty of comments suggesting the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and City can all wage a challenge.

The fact is, our underlying form is pretty strong now, and I believe a hammering by Tottenham – exacerbated by an early red – is continuing to negatively colour perceptions.

People have made their minds up that we can’t challenge and refuse to budge from that view now.

Think being under zero pressure may well suit us.
It's not just that hammering I think: it's that we haven't had any really comfortable, confident wins in the league. The closest was probably the Everton game. Everything else was hard-fought, skin-of-the-teeth stuff, in games where we played dogshit for large periods. We haven't had a single PL game like the home CL match against Basaksehir: 3-0 up at half time so we can afford to ease off in the second. Basically, it doesn't seem like we have strong foundations.
 

Leroy The Red

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I know you can’t split the season in reality, but when having a discussion on a football forum it serves as a useful way of illustrating a clearly positive trend around our form.

As ever the proof will be in the pudding, so let’s see how it pans out. I see reason to be positive at the moment though.
Aye and I hope you’re right and I’d be more than happy to revisit this and say so.
 

romufc

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We have scrapped out 3 points in 3 games where we probably deserved 3 altogether at best.

Brighton we stole 2
Southampton we stole 2
West Ham we stole 3

Last season we would have ended with 1 point from them 3 games, we have 9/9. If Ole can get through the CL tomorrow, start playing some football over Christmas, we could come out on the other side relatively well.

Chances of it happening very thin mind you.
 

thatsme

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I cannot see anyone but Liverpool winning the title.

Utd fighting City for second and Spurs have enough with their brilliant front two to take 4th.

Chelsea are looking like flat track bullies and will drop too many points against top 8 sides. Werner, Abraham's and Havertz are going to cost them big.
Give them a top quality striker and creative CM, they could seriously challenge for the title next season.
 

gajender

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I'm not denying that, but it would have been nice to not have 5 genuine competitors for the title
Ever since I have started watching Epl I can hardly recall genuine 3 way competition for the league and can't see that changing this season as well, Liverpool seems to be looking strongest of the lot at the moment it's upto others to keep up .
I think only one of the so called contenders will keep pace ,others would proved to be mere pretenders.
 

cyberman

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I think there are United fans envious of the transfer business Chelsea did in the summer compared to the nonsense we did. In fact I don’t think it, it is clear.

It’s not a strange narrative, it’s based on what people see with their eyes. Hence why most people are saying it. It’s not an agenda, it’s not a narrative, it’s not bias, it’s what is happening.
Spurs and Chelsea are playing and signed players suited to their style and it’s reflected in their matches.

We’ve kept one clean sheet this season, Chelsea and Spurs have eleven between them. They’re controlling games and look good both defensively and going forward. Meanwhile like I said in a previous post we’ve produced four performances this season that can be easily described as rancid. Whilst in the first half on Saturday we were garbage.

Out of the three clubs who’s likely to keep up the results and who’s likely to not?

The team leaking goals, who still don’t know their strongest team and who regularly fall behind in games ?

Or the two teams keeping clean sheet after clean sheet, averaging two goals a game who know their strongest team. The answer is obvious to anyone who isn’t a tunnel visioned United fan.
Well if you take seasons as a whole we finished 3rd last season, above Chelsea and level with Chelsea when same games played, 2 points off the top?
Seasons doesnt have to be split up to amplify a point.
 

bdecuc

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Couldn’t agree more. I’m writing off no one this season, as it’s one of those campaigns that about five or six teams who could win it this season.

I personally still think there’s a bit of clear water between Liverpool and the rest, and they’ve actually managed the injuries they’ve had with minimal fuss.

I do think United are the most widely written off team though, with plenty of comments suggesting the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and City can all wage a challenge.

The fact is, our underlying form is pretty strong now, and I believe a hammering by Tottenham – exacerbated by an early red – is continuing to negatively colour perceptions.

People have made their minds up that we can’t challenge and refuse to budge from that view now.

Think being under zero pressure may well suit us.
That description of refusing to budge from a position I think just about describes a lot of it. It's the internet isn't it? Lends itself to extreme takes and so many people appear to be more concerned with it being proved their original view was correct than actually taking a step back and re-assessing their view as the situation changes.
 

bond19821982

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Haha, we must be the only fanbase who repeatedly split seasons into different sections to suit ourselves.
‘Since Bruno came’ Since January window’ ‘ since Spurs defeat’ ‘Since three games after pre season’.

The clear evidence is indeed that results are improving that can’t be argued but when compared to Chelsea and Spurs they have achieved more well rounded improvement and look better placed to last the course which is what we’re discussing here.

We still start every game the same way, slow, ponderous and then concede. against Southampton and West Ham we conceded the exact same goal.
We’ve improved our league results but then our CL results have gone down the toilet with 2 defeats in 3. Something that wouldn’t have happened had we not started both games in the same pathetic way. We still have a few players going out onto the pitch and stinking the place up yet starting every game.

Our league games are going to get harder over Christmas. If we start games in the fashion we have going into games against city, Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester I dont think they will end as well as the recent one’s have.
Point is, team has been working on the issues and though not perfect, we have been doing okay.
 

Irwin99

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Looking to be a great race this season. 7 or 8 teams in the mix and I feel as if a lot of teams could go on either a winning or losing run. Still fancy Leicester to run it close but fade away again like last season and Everton and Villa will fade away too. People have written off Arsenal but if they can get a creative player in January they might string a few wins together. I don't think they're completely out of it yet. I'd go:

Liverpool
City
United
Spurs (by the narrowest margin over Chelsea and Leicester)
 

Chipper

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Was going to post last time this thread was at top and name City as my prediction, then they went and picked up 2 points in 2 games. The first one against us and there was no shame in that for either side but the draw against West Brom was rather bad. Still, I think in general despite not scoring as many as in the past they're looking dangerous and I'd stick with them.Not conceding many either and I think that could get them over the line.

Let's be honest though, anyone who says they're confident of picking a winner at this point is either lying or not very sensible.
 

cyberman

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Looks to be a bit of a dud this year. If its not the top 3 and Chelsea then someone has fecked it up somewhere.
 

SilentWitness

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I think that United/Liverpool/City will be the top 3 - not in that order. I expect West Ham to falter at some stage and drop out of the race too along with us, Villa and Arsenal.

Leicester will probably do it because they have a mix of a top manager and a settled squad full of quality. They are the team with the least problems out of this pack.

For example, we have an excellent manager and first team but our squad is poor, especially in the midfield and attacking areas.
 

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I'm staying out of this debate for now. Just need the notifications to keep on an eye out for any shenanigans. I have my eyes on the top 3 though.
 

AltiUn

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We really need to avoid being dragged into the fray with good results against Everton and Southampton, by that point I think we'll see a real gap opening and momentum may be enough to carry us over the line. I think our top 4 hopes depend on whether our attackers get out of their wretched form, my thinking is we'll be fine eventually because we're creating more than enough chances to win games against the lower teams and we can't keep missing open nets indefinitely I hope. Sheffield United aside we've played 2 very difficult games along with a horrible cup tie in the middle, so with those games out of sight and mind we can hopefully settle back into a rythym.
 

Red & White

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I‘m always looking at the Chelsea, Leicester and Spurs results, as it‘ll be one of them and hopefully us joining City and Liverpool in the top 4. Everton are capable if they go on a run but more of an outside chance. You’d think Leicester would have the push his year after throwing it away last year but that could also work against them.

We need to keep averaging 2 points per game and we’ll finish third if we do. Win against Southampton and we’re back to that average.
 

Schmeichel's Cartwheel

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We need to avoid getting dragged into this. Thankfully Spurs, Everton & Leicester are hitting a rough patch. Chelsea will improve & Arsenal have improved. We should be alright, providing we don’t collapse.
 

UnofficialDevil

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We need to avoid getting dragged into this. Thankfully Spurs, Everton & Leicester are hitting a rough patch. Chelsea will improve & Arsenal have improved. We should be alright, providing we don’t collapse.
All other teams have been hit by injuries. If we can carry on injury free like we have we should be ok.
 

GoonerBear

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I'm staying out of this debate for now. Just need the notifications to keep on an eye out for any shenanigans. I have my eyes on the top 3 though.
It's crazy to try & predict this season. 6 weeks ago we were looking at relegation, now I'm holding out faint hope for a top 4 slot after this weekends results. It was almost easier when we were ruled out totally!

If, & that's a big if, we beat Wolves on Tuesday then we go ahead of Spurs & Chelsea with them playing each other on Thursday. What a crazy season.
 

WeePat

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It's crazy to try & predict this season. 6 weeks ago we were looking at relegation, now I'm holding out faint hope for a top 4 slot after this weekends results. It was almost easier when we were ruled out totally!

If, & that's a big if, we beat Wolves on Tuesday then we go ahead of Spurs & Chelsea with them playing each other on Thursday. What a crazy season.
Very true. Wolves is a winnable game for Arsenal now - 6 weeks ago was looking your upcoming run of games [Wolves, Villa, Leeds, City and Leicester] as another potential bad losing streak. We have gained 4 points on United in the last two games and 3 on Leicester. It looks promising, but I've been scarred by the last 6 weeks, so I don't dare to get my hopes up too much.
 

GoonerBear

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Very true. Wolves is a winnable game for Arsenal now - 6 weeks ago was looking your upcoming run of games [Wolves, Villa, Leeds, City and Leicester] as another potential bad losing streak. We have gained 4 points on United in the last two games and 3 on Leicester. It looks promising, but I've been scarred by the last 6 weeks, so I don't dare to get my hopes up too much.
I feel your pain. Its usually when we get dragged back in & i just think "well, could we" we get let down by a couple of crap results. One things for sure, I'm not going to boldly predict any results, as this league is mental, the results show that. With it being so open near the top, you get top half teams taking points off each other every game week as well, so if someone can go on a run you can quickly make up ground.
 

WeePat

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I feel your pain. Its usually when we get dragged back in & i just think "well, could we" we get let down by a couple of crap results. One things for sure, I'm not going to boldly predict any results, as this league is mental, the results show that. With it being so open near the top, you get top half teams taking points off each other every game week as well, so if someone can go on a run you can quickly make up ground.
Yeah there are still 18 games to play for, and as I said, Arsenal have momentum, and we gained 4 unexpected points on United in just 2 games, so there is definitely many more twists and turns in the top 4 race, even for those of us sitting in 7th and 10th place. I have so much more confidence in the team now that I'm even beginning to side eye the Champions League again after completely writing it off as a guaranteed loss vs Atletico Madrid.
 
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