United possess title trump card


Watching Manchester United rip Fulham apart at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night, it's difficult to know where to start with the positives for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

If form comes in spurts, then both Wayne Rooney and Nani are in the midst of their second purple patch of the season at just the right time, Antonio Valencia finally appears to be over hit fitness problems, while Jonny Evans has delivered proof of how consistent selection can produce his best form, with a string of assured performances.

Evans has played a full 90 minutes in each of United's last three league games, in which they've scored 11 goals and conceded just once.

Further positives come in the shape of their current league position in relation to leaders Manchester City.

Despite earning the best ever start to a Premier League campaign, netting the most consecutive home league wins in English football for 80 years and becoming the quickest team to 50 Premier League goals in the divisions' history, United lie just two points behind City as they enter a period of the season they've famously made their own over the previous 19 years.

However, the biggest positive from United's defeat of Fulham, concerns those who didn't the trip to west-London.

The likes of David De Gea, Rafael, Fabio, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez failed to feature for a single minute against The Whites, proof that United have plenty in reserve going into the New Year.

The question is, what more to City have to give? They've broken numerous records, had onlookers waxing lyrical about their swashbuckling attacking style of play, but yet they lie just two points ahead of United.

Their recent form aside, it's been largely the opposite for United. After being hit for six by City, United mustered just five goals in their subsequent five league games, a run which included crashing out of both the Carling Cup and the Champions League.

What may be in City's favour is the upcoming transfer window. Roberto Mancini has never been adverse to bringing in fresh blood, with funds above and beyond what United can offer.

Mancini may opt against bringing in a significant name, after Edin Dzeko failed to make an impact until a full pre-season with the club.

Regardless of what we've seen from City this term, it's what the reigning champions haven't produced, and still have in the locker, that makes them favourites to claim a 13th Barclays Premier League title come next May.

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