Will form decide the FA Cup final for Manchester United?
Manchester United, so famed for Fergie time, were left bereft in the last minute of stoppage time after the defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion and it lead to many questions about this team once again; second-half performances have not been good enough.
It is easy to feel frustration after battling hard in defence and conceding a silly penalty which Luke Shaw openly admitted it was his fault. It was tough for the England international because, before his silly handball, he was arguably the man of the match.
However, this was not the story of the game. In a heated battle at the Amex, United and Brighton went toe to toe but United did have chances to get themselves in front but the intensity dropped in the second half once again. Concentration levels also dropped with David De Gea having to be called into action more than once to keep the scoreline level for as long as he could.
It felt like the same old story for United away from home, in the second half, against a side in the top half of the league.
The same thing happened in this game as it did against Newcastle following the League Cup victory.
Can Manchester United recover?
There is no need for a drastic overreaction from fans and pundits alike but there does need to be an air of concern. The top four is still not sealed and it adds more pressure on each game that United do not win back-to-back; which helps build momentum and has been evident for parts of the season.
However, the draw with Spurs and the entire Europa League debacle shows this United team can still be quite fragile despite much-improved performances in the season which should quite rightly be lauded.
The Brighton result is not a disaster with Liverpool and Brighton both seven and eight points behind them respectively. It just, as stated, raises a few eyebrows with the FA Cup final looming on 3rd June against possibly the best side in the country and Europe.
Away form is the issue
The away from of Manchester United has been the issue all season and even in some wins away from home they have been sketchy, to say the least. With two more trips away from Old Trafford, there are going to be some concerns.
United have struggled against the top half away from home this season but will play West Ham United and Bournemouth who sit in the bottom half of the league where United’s form has been better.
These will not be easy games with both sides fighting for their lives, Bournemouth not as much, at the bottom end of the table.
However, the home form this year has been better and with games against Wolves, Chelsea, and Fulham, the Red Devils will be hoping that is at least 6 out of 9 points.
It has to be remembered that United have played a lot of games this season and are still fighting for the top four. The machine that is Manchester City can rotate quite easily while they contest the league, the Champions League, and the FA Cup without breaking that much of a sweat.
If Manchester United can put in strong performances against West Ham, Wolves, Bournemouth, and Chelsea then that will help build up some much-needed momentum and be able to rest players in the final game of the season against Fulham as they approach the Manchester derby FA Cup final.