Thursday 22 March 2018

Alan Hansen: United deliver for Moyes with best display of season

Alan Hansen

This was David Moyes's greatest weekend at Old Trafford so far and he's sent out a message to everybody that Manchester United have never been out of the Premier League title race.

Moyes desperately needed to make a big statement after falling short against Manchester City and Liverpool already this season and to beat the league leaders, who have been flying, just shows that talk of United's supposed demise is totally unfair.

And when you consider that their biggest title challengers, City and Chelsea, have taken no points and a point respectively, Moyes can look back on this weekend with a lot of satisfaction and the progress is there for all to see after going nine games unbeaten.

Make no mistake – if United had lost this game to Arsenal, I think it would have effectively finished the title race for them.

They would have been 11 points behind which is too far and United would probably have needed to go 15 games undefeated to claw it back – and I don't believe they're good enough to do that.


But this victory puts them bang in the mix again and shows the people forecasting they wouldn't finish in the top four have been premature. It was a massive game for United and Moyes and they absolutely delivered.

This was their best performance of the current campaign. It will also have erased some of the doubts that have been hanging around Moyes since the start of the season, after beating one of the top four, at least for the time being. The only way to dispel those question marks is to keep winning.

They might not be the best United team you've ever seen and they've certainly had their trials and tribulations this season. At times they have been poor, but when you've got Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in your team, you've always got a chance.

Goalscoring chances were few and far between in the whole game and Van Persie arguably only had one and he's taken it.

That's what wins you vital games and titles.

The way United played in the first 20 minutes was a massive statement of intent and they never allowed Arsenal to get into the game.

Arsenal were overwhelmed and when you're nullifying a team that has been winning everywhere else like they have, you must be doing something right.

I can only remember Arsenal having one shot on target and that was an easy save for David de Gea to make in the second half.

United were fighting for their lives in midfield and showing all the commitment and tenacity you need. In the last home game against Stoke they got out of jail and were lucky to win after capitalising on a late lifeline, but here they were organised, competitive and had a belief.

They have still got class players, strength in depth and when they're all together they remain a very good side. They are certainties to finish in the top four and always have been.

Now they can start looking up the table and the way the other results went this weekend, you're looking at possibly one of the most open title races in years.

It's only five points separating them from Arsenal and three league wins on the trot will give them an awful lot of confidence going into the international break.

Moyes (pictured below) can't have expected some of the other results. City's away form is abysmal and Chelsea were very fortunate to take a point after a contentious late penalty at home to West Brom, so United have made some ground on them.

I still believe the title will be one of those three teams and if anybody else wins it, I will be absolutely amazed.

Liverpool have made a fantastic start, but haven't got the strength in depth and Spurs can't do it.


Arsenal's challenge is not dead and buried after losing at United and I don't think they will be too disappointed with the way they played, but they will have a bad run. And when they do have that bad run, I believe it will be worse than anybody else's.

I can't see any other credible alternatives for the title beyond United, City and Chelsea. City and Chelsea may have the best players, but United are just United.

It had been a difficult start for Moyes and his players – but they have always been in the title race and remain a serious threat. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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