Manchester United threw away a 2-0 lead against Aston Villa on Saturday night.
The Red Devils were less than 15 minutes away from seeing out one of their finest performances of the Ralf Rangnick era as they deservedly lead 2-0 at Villa Park courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’ brace.
However, everything came apart at the seams when a misplaced tackle from Fred fell to the feet of Jacob Ramsey, who provided the finishing touch to put Villa back into the game.
Man Utd drop points at Villa
From that point onwards, Steven Gerrard’s men simply didn’t look back and the stars duly aligned for Philippe Coutinho to mark his Premier League return with a dramatic equalising goal.
And while there wasn’t a further sting in the tail of the visitors, there was nevertheless a distinctly sour taste left in the mouth for United fans when you consider just how comfortable they had looked.
Aston Villa 2-2 Man Utd Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
It really was symptomatic of United’s struggles this season that a performance which showed so much promise ultimately crashed and burned when it mattered most.
However, regardless of how these disappointing results might be coming about, the simple fact of the matter is that United are wasting massive opportunities to get back into the top four race.
Not only have Rangnick’s men won just one of their last four Premier League games, but they have done so against teams that they would expect to beat if they’re to qualify for the Champions League.
Ferdinand and Hargreaves’ reaction
In fact, such has been the wasteful nature of United’s performances of late that a clip of Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves from the early days of Rangnick’s era has made a reappearance.
During BT Sport’s post-match coverage of the 1-1 draw with Young Boys on December 8, the two former United players were presented with the club’s next 10 Premier League fixtures.
And to say that they were confident about United’s chances of hoovering up league points under Rangnick would be the mother of all understatements because the video now looks so awkward.
Ferdinand reacted to the graphic by quipping: “You look at that and you think: ‘wow, there’s not many there that that would frighten you or put you on the back foot’.
“I think he’s got to go into these thinking: ‘wow, we can come out of this at Southampton, we should be in a really, really good position.'”
To that, Hargreaves added: “Rio, that is win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win. I mean, that should be…”
Jake Humphrey then read Hargreaves’ mind by suggesting: “30 points?”
The former England international then replied: “Yeh. No, seriously.”
Marry that to Ferdinand’s foreboding declaration of: “You’d hope so,” and the clip – which you can check out down below – can’t help feeling as though the two former United man jinxed their team.
Oof. Just over one month later and that hasn’t aged well.
Man Utd fail to take advantage
While we might not have made it all the way through the fixtures yet and certain games have been called off due to unavailability, it’s fair to say that United have still struggled more than expected.
They might have taken three points from the clashes with Norwich City and Burnley, but they could only draw with Villa and Newcastle United and lost at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
All in all, that makes for a pitiful eight points from a possible 15 despite the fact that three of the five opponents occupy the relegation zone and only one of them is actually in the top half of the table.
As such, even in a world where United get back on track by winning the remaining games in the clip, Rangnick will still be left kicking himself with just 23 points from the 30 that Hargreaves that been touting.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and United certainly wasn’t rebuilt in a month.