Manchester United take on West Ham on Sunday in the Premier League. Both managers are under pressure and need a win. After the successes of last season, Slaven Bilic and the West Ham fans would not have expected to be just one place above the drop zone in November.
In fact, a defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday could see them in the bottom three. A large part of their current situation can be blamed on the move to the new stadium. Their results in the impressive Olympic Stadium have been patchy, to say the least.
Any team in the Premier League is going to struggle if they are continually getting mediocre results at home. West Ham played with such energy and passion last season that you tend to wonder where it has all gone wrong. Injuries to key players haven’t helped. Andy Carroll is still some way off being fully fit, and he has only played once all season. West Ham certainly misses his potent threat up front.
The question needs to be asked if Manchester United’s title chances have already vanished this season. Some people argue that it’s too early to say that. Consider the facts. They trail Chelsea by 9pts, and they are behind three teams that are playing much better than them in Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. All of their big name acquisitions have been misfiring this season. Wayne Rooney has been well below his best.
These are four big reasons why the 9pt gap will likely grow larger rather than contract. You simply cannot underperform for half a season and expect to win the league. The big test for United is to finish in the top four. Jose Mourinho is certainly under pressure, but then again why shouldn’t he be?
United are Still No Better
We can argue about the merits of style but the league position and the stats don’t lie. United are no better off under Mourinho than they were under Moyes and Van Gaal. The bookies now have United at 25/1 for the title. Those odds are not too far short of bookmaker spiel for “no chance”.
As for their game with the Hammers on Sunday, they will start as favourites and rightly so. One negative point for United could be their Europa League tie against Feyenoord on Thursday. What will their energy levels be like against West Ham? Mourinho has openly stated that he is taking the Europa League very seriously this season.
He may need to if they miss out on the top four in the league. Winning the Europa League would then be United’s only chance of playing in the Champions League next season. You can get odds of 1-2 with Stan James for a Man United win. You can also get 7-2 with SkyBet for the draw and a tasty 15-2 with BetFred for a West Ham upset.