We're comfortably the third best team in the league

Brightonian

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We are not consistent enough to claim this. We are yet to put together a run of more than 2 wins in a row.
Maybe, but we have a run of 13 unbeaten, 9w 4d, 33 goals for and 3 against. Includes wins against City, Chelsea and City again. Two of those draws were against creditable opponents, Spurs and Wolves.

I'm all for not getting too excited based on a few results but that run is not to be sniffed at.
 

Sandikan

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Most promising signs for the upcoming season since Fergie left I reckon.

Assuming everyone we want stays, we can go into next season knowing we only have to play 1 of Fred, McTom and Matic each game, rather than having spent 90% of this season having to play 2-3 of them every game.

Sancho, or a quality right sided player is critical, and then we can say similar to shoehorning in Mata, Pereira or having to overplay James there.

Ighalo or a similar level backup striker is a good move, and Greenwood will be a year more developed.

Throw in a pacy quality partner for Maguire, and it's looking very good.
 

lex talionis

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We're a squad of up and down form, but not of sufficient consistency. On form, United are the second best squad in the land without a doubt. But over the course of the season we're on par with Chelsea.

A shame we've gone most of the season without Pogba.
 

Sandikan

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Because it shows progression. It shows that we are on track. You don't go from also-rans to champions overnight.
Exactly this.
It's all well and good people giving it all the "We're Man Utd we should be challenging for the title" etc.
That's lovely, but it doesn't achieve anything.

What does achieve something is a systematic piece by piece building of a squad, having accepted that there'd be some bumps on theroad.
 

Zoo

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No I think it’s fair to say Chelsea are. Okay they lost Hazard but let’s not forget they cruised to Europa League title and finished third last season, plus have a lot of talented young players and older ones who have won trophies including the Premier League.

United are better then Leicester but they have been consistent and some will say that the table doesn’t lie.
 

Blood Mage

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We have the 3rd best squad of players in the league (heck we might even have a better squad than City right now) but Chelsea are better coached than us. Arguably Spurs too.
 

Mount's Goatieson

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We have the 3rd best squad of players in the league (heck we might even have a better squad than City right now) but Chelsea are better coached than us. Arguably Spurs too.
Very hot take this.
You don't have a better team than City and I think Ole is doing pretty well considering where your team were just last year.
Lampard has done really well, certainly exceeded my expectations but there is no need to downplay one's efforts to elevate the other.
 

Rightnr

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We would be third if we had a coherent style of play and a manager to implement that. At the moment, we have the players.

Liverpool and Citeh have shown you need both to win the league.
 

SadlerMUFC

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Is this how far we have sunk? That we are bragging about being "3rd best"? BTW...we will challenge for the title next year so I wouldn't say Liverpool and City are on "another level" like the OP said. I also expect Chelsea to challenge as well. Nobody is walking away with the title next year. Expect things to be much different. Mind you, if anyone is going to slip, I could see City taking a bit of a hit. They need a central defender and the Champions League ban isn't going to help them. So rather than just buying the best, they will likely have to buy smart and poach a defender from an EPL team where the player isn't as concerned about Champions League football, and is just happy to be on a better team...
 

georgipep

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Is this how far we have sunk? That we are bragging about being "3rd best"? BTW...we will challenge for the title next year so I wouldn't say Liverpool and City are on "another level" like the OP said. I also expect Chelsea to challenge as well. Nobody is walking away with the title next year. Expect things to be much different. Mind you, if anyone is going to slip, I could see City taking a bit of a hit. They need a central defender and the Champions League ban isn't going to help them. So rather than just buying the best, they will likely have to buy smart and poach a defender from an EPL team where the player isn't as concerned about Champions League football, and is just happy to be on a better team...
Issa Diop? Nathan Ake? Mason Holgate?
 

Untd55

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In what ways are Chelsea better at the moment?
They are above us in the table by 5 points, so they are better.

Better at scoring goals. Arguably have a better attack when you consider depth.

Now: Pedro, Pulisic, Willian, Giroud, Abraham

Next: Ziyech, Werner, Giroud, Pulisic, Abraham, Willian?

Rashford, Martial, James, Lingard, Greenwood.

I think Chelsea's teamwork is superior. They are better at breaking defensive teams down.
 
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Untd55

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Over the season yes. not over the proximate period of time which is the point of the thread.
They are still superior in several areas.

Better at scoring goals. Arguably have a better attack when you consider depth.

Now: Pedro, Pulisic, Willian, Giroud, Abraham

Next: Ziyech, Werner, Giroud, Pulisic, Abraham, Willian?

Rashford, Martial, James, Lingard, Greenwood.

They are better at breaking defensive teams down.
 

SAFMUTD

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I think the fact that Ole is the manager along with some resignation and lowering our expectations because of the sad sad years weve had is what is making many here start believing things like these.

We are on our way to our worst season in the premier league, since under Ole we have been performing in patches either winning or losing streaks, and the long stop because of covid, its easy to forgett how shitty we were before the last patch when Bruno arrived.

To the people saying we are Sancho away to challenging Liverpool, do you actually believe Sancho is a player that will make 35-40 extra points per season? Because thats how far away we are.

Lets not fool ourselves, we have been consistently been a top 5-6 team for many years now, we are not the third best team.
 

Statue of Limitations

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I don't get the negativity or ridicule about us "currently" being the 3rd best team, clearly we are.

Can you honestly tell me LCFC are better than us? They just aren't and actually may well finish below us with our contrasting forms.

Chelsea are similar to us but haven't replaced Hazard, blow hot and cold and have an inexperienced manager.

Arsenal are no longer a top 6 team.

Spuds have Jose...good luck with that.

Heck even City (I've mentioned before) have an aging squad and Pool don't have the cash to compete for signings - their squad will probably be a bit stale in the coming season, no competition for places could breed complacency.

We were definitely Top 3, will 100% be Top 3 next year with a sensible showing in the transfer market.

Our deadwood has been shifted massively, frees up room for wages, quality and competition.
 

RedRoseTyke

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Well, for one thing, the EPL is no longer a one horse race, as it was for many seasons.

At the moment Liverpool are in ascendancy and as much as I dislike the club, their current team has got there fair and square - however, they are not the deepest squad and that could bite them if they get some key injuries (VVD, for example). City are a waning force, IMO, but still capable of massacaring teams in the middle and lower end of the table meaning they can be in with a shout. Chelsea are threatening, they have two new signings to integrate and a bright manager who is learning quickly - understimate them at your peril. Then there's us, good squad, under rated manager (anyone with a sensible view will see the results of coaching in several of our players) and a definite shout. Don't underestimate Wolves - a resilient and tough team, well drilled and capable of a sustained campaign. Spurs? anyone's guess.

Those will be the teams in contention, next season, perm any 4 from those.
 

amolbhatia50k

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I don't get the negativity or ridicule about us "currently" being the 3rd best team, clearly we are.

Can you honestly tell me LCFC are better than us? They just aren't and actually may well finish below us with our contrasting forms.

Chelsea are similar to us but haven't replaced Hazard, blow hot and cold and have an inexperienced manager.

Arsenal are no longer a top 6 team.

Spuds have Jose...good luck with that.

Heck even City (I've mentioned before) have an aging squad and Pool don't have the cash to compete for signings - their squad will probably be a bit stale in the coming season, no competition for places could breed complacency.

We were definitely Top 3, will 100% be Top 3 next year with a sensible showing in the transfer market.

Our deadwood has been shifted massively, frees up room for wages, quality and competition.
There's nothing clear about it. I think on paper we are better than Chelsea and Leicester (by a mile ) but it's also about proving it on the pitch over a significant period. We seem to appear to be doing it over a small sample of games, but over the course of the season a 5 and 6 point is fairly large. It's up to us to ensure the points tally and peformances reflect the talent we have in our ranks. Otherwise it's just superiority in resources rather than having an actual better football team.
 

Josep Dowling

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Most promising signs for the upcoming season since Fergie left I reckon.

Assuming everyone we want stays, we can go into next season knowing we only have to play 1 of Fred, McTom and Matic each game, rather than having spent 90% of this season having to play 2-3 of them every game.

Sancho, or a quality right sided player is critical, and then we can say similar to shoehorning in Mata, Pereira or having to overplay James there.

Ighalo or a similar level backup striker is a good move, and Greenwood will be a year more developed.

Throw in a pacy quality partner for Maguire, and it's looking very good.
I would agree if our two biggest rivals in football were not miles ahead of us.
 

Redfrog

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To be honest, I don't know where we are at yet. But I like this team and I like what we can become. We have a lot of young, talented players (Rashford, Martial, Pogba, Bruno, Greenwood, Wan Bissaka, Maguire) and we are on the up.
I feel this year was a learning curve. We have had a lot of up and downs this season and we have been unlucky in terms of injuries and results against lesser teams. This young players will learn from that.
We can see what Ole is trying to do and that is encouraging. I'm sure we will continue to buy more good technicaly players and have a better squad. But we are too thin in my opinion yet. We have to get ride of Lingard, Perreira, Jones, Sanchez at least.
I was born in 86 so I only knew a winning United team. Since SAF is gone, that is the first time I'm really excited about our team. It looks like a United team with young, talented, hungry players. But we need more players. People seems to forget that we are one or two injuries away to being fecked yet.
In my opinion we are still far away to compete for the title. the first team is still lacking a RW and a better attacking fullback at least. The squad lack quality as well and with few injuries it can be grim again. We still need someone to compete with matic, two more options in attack, a central defender and at least one full back (all this players need to be good enough to push the first team in my opinion).
But I still think Ole was right to get ride of a lot of players this summer. We needed this fresh start and only keep players who wanted to be there. There was too much complenecies in the dressing room before with a lot of players thinking there were bigger then the club.
The futur is bright !
 

RedRoseTyke

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I would agree if our two biggest rivals in football were not miles ahead of us.
Josep, I get where you're coming from, but I'm not sure they're 'miles ahead of us', so much as 'miles more consistent than us' - the post before yours made a very good point, IMO - though I'm not sure we are stronger than Chelsea on paper, they have some good players and two more to come in.

To qoute that post...

There's nothing clear about it. I think on paper we are better than Chelsea and Leicester (by a mile ) but it's also about proving it on the pitch over a significant period. We seem to appear to be doing it over a small sample of games, but over the course of the season a 5 and 6 point is fairly large. It's up to us to ensure the points tally and peformances reflect the talent we have in our ranks. Otherwise it's just superiority in resources rather than having an actual better football team.
 

Untd55

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I don't get the negativity or ridicule about us "currently" being the 3rd best team, clearly we are.

Can you honestly tell me LCFC are better than us? They just aren't and actually may well finish below us with our contrasting forms.

Chelsea are similar to us but haven't replaced Hazard, blow hot and cold and have an inexperienced manager.

Arsenal are no longer a top 6 team.

Spuds have Jose...good luck with that.

Heck even City (I've mentioned before) have an aging squad and Pool don't have the cash to compete for signings - their squad will probably be a bit stale in the coming season, no competition for places could breed complacency.

We were definitely Top 3, will 100% be Top 3 next year with a sensible showing in the transfer market.

Our deadwood has been shifted massively, frees up room for wages, quality and competition.
Is that not exactly the same as us? Yes, they have lost Hazard, but they are still 5 points above us in the table without him. With him, we wouldn't even be in contention of finishing above Chelsea.

Chelsea have a very good team, which is being massively underestimated because we beat them a few times. That doesn't mean anything, particularly when there was pretty much nothing between us in the last game. It was only Rashford's freekick that separated the teams.

We are not clearly better than Chelsea. And it is far from guaranteed that we will finish above them next season when we are not even above them this season. Remember, they had no transfer window under Lampard and lost their best player. Yet, despite spending £200m we are still below them.

City - Will spend a lot of money; it is in their DNA. They may have ageing players, but they will replace them.

Liverpool - They will spend money this season. They didn't sign anyone last year, so they definitely have money to spend. Also, they are miles ahead of us (Defence, Attack, Goalkeeper are way above us. Midfield is the only area you could say on paper is close.)


Next Season (There are a few things to consider)
Chelsea have already signed Werner and Ziyech. Chelsea look like they are going to spend a lot of money this transfer window; considering they spent nothing through all of last year, they have the ability to spend a lot.

I think Pulisic will up his game next season, so long as he avoids injury. He has the potential to be the best winger in the league.

Pogba may not stay.
 

RyRoc

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I think united and Chelsea are very well matched for 3rd best in the league , couldn’t confidently say either side was better than the other. I actually also think Spurs is squad is close to both but under their management and transfer restrictions I can see them falling behind. Leicester have some really good players but are lacking in squad depth.
 

Keefy18

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I would agree if our two biggest rivals in football were not miles ahead of us.
I don't get this argument, Liverpool were in our position as Klopp has pointed out himself time and time again.

Liverpool were 25 points behind City as recent as 2018!

Football is ever evolving, players age, squads become complacent, form drops, injuries happen, transfers can go right and wrong.

I think for the first time in the post Fergie era we showing genuine signs of an upward trend and the right ideals are being rolled out at the club. Ole has a clear and definite plan and is improving players right across the whole squad from defence to attack.

If we get our transfer right in the next window by adding a solid marquee signing and 2 other good talents that improve the some of the parts of the team then we can challenge I'm sure of it.

He'll continue to hack away at the deadwood as well to free up funds and spots in the squad.
 

Keefy18

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Is that not exactly the same as us? Yes, they have lost Hazard, but they are still 5 points above us in the table without him. With him, we wouldn't even be in contention of finishing above Chelsea.

Chelsea have a very good team, which is being massively underestimated because we beat them a few times. That doesn't mean anything, particularly when there was pretty much nothing between us in the last game. It was only Rashford's freekick that separated the teams.

We are not clearly better than Chelsea. And it is far from guaranteed that we will finish above them next season when we are not even above them this season. Remember, they had no transfer window under Lampard and lost their best player. Yet, despite spending £200m we are still below them.
They had a head start on us clearly, they finished 6pts ahead of us last year and won the Europa league. They've won the league twice in the post Fergie era lets not forget and some of those title winners are still there and better than the ones we have from Fergies last title in 2013!

They've a good side no doubt and Frank is doing a good job, similar to Ole in many respects. Reality is though, he's had less work than us / Ole to contend with and yet we are still within touching distance of them and lets not forget who they still have to play in the remaining 7 games.

City - Will spend a lot of money; it is in their DNA. They may have ageing players, but they will replace them.
How? They are caught by the short n curlies with FFP? They already have a Champions league ban that is being upheld.

They've at least 7 or 8 players aged 30 or older and they simply will not replace like for like in terms of quality.

Silva is retiring, Aguero is 33 and racking up consistent injuries and slowly a bit part player. Fernandinho who has been vital to the title wins is 35 and on his last legs. Add in the likes of Otamendi (32), Walker (30), Mahrez (30) and Gundogan (30 next season) they've a pretty big rebuild due over the next year or so with financial restrictions in place.

Liverpool - They will spend money this season. They didn't sign anyone last year, so they definitely have money to spend. Also, they are miles ahead of us (Defence, Attack, Goalkeeper are way above us. Midfield is the only area you could say on paper is close.)
They'll spend no doubt, but I think the bigger issue is complacency and possibly losing Salah or Mane. The rumors of Salah leaving are there and Barca will see him as a replacement for the ageing forward duo of Messi & Suarez (both 33).

Chelsea have already signed Werner and Ziyech. Chelsea look like they are going to spend a lot of money this transfer window; considering they spent nothing through all of last year, they have the ability to spend a lot.

I think Pulisic will up his game next season, so long as he avoids injury. He has the potential to be the best winger in the league.
In fairness, up to his back injury.. Rashford was arguably the best wide attacking player in the league. So its much of a muchness.

Ziyech could possibly be slow to adapt to the league, only time will tell. Greenwood will likely be better as well and if we add Sancho it'd mean things are fairly equal in that respect with Chelsea and their attacking options.

Just some food for thought ;)
 

Web of Bissaka

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3) Leicester --- 55
4) Chelsea --- 54
5) Wolves --- 52
6) United --- 49
7) Spurs --- 45
8) Sheffield --- 44
*Wolves played 32 games. The rest is on 31 games.

Plenty of candidates for the 3rd best team, far from over.

7 games left.
 

SteveW

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A bit of recency bias going on in this thread. Finishing the season well doesn't make you better than a team that had their good form earlier. We haven't even done that yet.

We had all the "we're obviously better than Leicester" in the summer with the top red lot pouring scorn on the idea. Still injuries are the new "it was just fitness" as if these things only impact us.
Recency matters in an evolving situation. We have Bruno now. We didn't before. We will have Bruno going forward. Therefore recent us more relevant. Obviously.
 

Who's Kissing Cameras?

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Chelsea’s team with Ziyech, Werner and potentially Chilwell looks very fecking strong.

Tomori and Rudiger at the back is very solid, with Reece James a great talent at RB.

Great CM options with Kova, Barkley, Jorginho, Kante and Mount with Gilmour looking the real deal.

Ziyech (brilliant player), Pulisic, Hudson Odoi (both extremely talented youngsters) and Willian for the creative options coming from the flanks. Werner can play across the forward options and is potentially world class, with Abraham and Giroud more than able back ups.

I’d say we have the fourth best squad. Chelsea’s back ups are better than our back ups.
 

Giggsy13

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We are comfortably no where near the best team in the league.

That is the main point. Nothing else matters. All this chat is just noise
This was the mic drop moment yet you’re all still going on about something that doesn’t matter nor is it even reflected in the table!
 

el3mel

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Yesterday just proves my point earlier. Main lineup is good enough yes but squad depth is pretty bad and we won't be able to handle injuries well with such bench players.
 

AFC NimbleThumb

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That disaster of a performance yesterday is exactly why we’re not ‘comfortably’ anything near the 3rd best team.

You remove 1 of our best 11 & you’re bringing in players who haven’t deserved a place at the club let alone in the team for some time.

Mata; nice guy but what has he done since Juanfield.

Lingard; enough said.

Even the Fred + McTom axis people were waxing lyrical about showed its limitations without Bruno being exemplary.

Dalot; there’s a reason we spent £50mil on AWB after squandering £20mil on this guy.

Baily; always a mistake away.

We lack the depth & quality in abundance.
 

Web of Bissaka

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1) The gap between the 2nd and 3rd is ridiculously huge.
2) Four (+ two or three) teams are on the same level as the "third best team" in the league. The gap between these 4 minimum teams are very close at the moment if we consider overall, not just league points.

Doesn't matter if we're actually the 3rd best team, if we consider this two contexts.

Also, I think this is a normal season for Wolves, and possibly Leicester at the end though they over-performed earlier season.