If you asked anyone this question six months ago, they would have given you a funny look. Now, its become a chilling reality that’s hanging over Manchester United fans like a black cloud.
David Moyes’ failure to strengthen his squad, coupled with his overly publicised, and all too public, pursuit of Cesc Fabregas does not make for good reading for United fans.
Add to this mix, United’s indifferent pre-season form and the on-going Wayne Rooney saga – I apologise for using that word, we are all sick to the back teeth of it – and things don’t look good for Moyes, or United.
If Moyes wants respect at United, he needs to stop acting like he’s on internship at Old Trafford and stamp his authority on the club and make some decisions.
His handling of the Rooney affair has been diabolical and his reliance on senior United players past and present is worrying; United fans will be praying that this isn’t the shape of things to come.
For the first time since the inception of the Premier League, United finishing outside of the top four is a real possibility.
Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho can’t believe their luck; both have stepped into top jobs at top teams and inherited squads worthy of winning the Premier League - but, best of all, the seat at the throne of the Premier League is up for grabs.
Moyes’ Manchester United are making all the wrong noises pre-season; surely Chelsea and Manchester City will finish above them.
Mourinho’s Chelsea, especially with a rejuvenated Rooney in their ranks, should stroll to the title. This season will probably come too early for Pellegrini’s City project.
Tottenham, with or without Gareth Bale, can easily finish in the top four now that they have a striker who knows how to find the net. Their midfield is arguably the best in the league, although you might find this argument harder to win if Bale leaves.
Fourth place is up for grabs, and it will be close. United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton are the main contenders and United could easily lose out.
Whilst Wenger’s Arsenal haven’t strengthened in the transfer market, they haven’t weakened either, which is important considering the last two season have seem them lose Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and of course Robin van Persie to United.
The longevity instilled at the club by Le Prof, should be enough to see them finish fourth.
The question is: will the United board be as patient with Moyes as they were with Ferguson, who nearly got the club relegated in a trophy-less first three years?
Only time will tell.
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