Not many would have predicted Manchester United to dropping off as much as they have done after a promising first season for Erik ten Hag and his men. However, it looks like the Red Devils are starting to disappear on the pitch and letting other teams have the chance of overtaking them into the top four race after losing to West Ham United.
What is actually happening?
Manchester United have been struggling for form since their draw with Sevilla at Old Trafford. They may have reacted well against Nottingham Forest in picking up the win but since then it has been an almighty slog for ten Hag’s men.
Every game becomes a struggle and they are unable to control games as they did earlier in the season.
The major factor for this side is the loss of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. They have been the two factors that have made United solid this year and their abscence from the side has meant United do not look as solid at the back nor do they look on the front foot when playing out from the back.
The other factor is fatigue. Untied have played an awful lot of football and especially those who went to the World Cup in Qatar. They have been heavily affected by it but they also need to find energy and concentration from somewhere.
Has this happened before?
It was very much apparent in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s season in charge after Jose Mourinho and it was also apparent with Jose’s first season; both seasons United finished 6th. They seemed to run out of gas and performances became sluggish.
There was also the case of last season when United finished the season 6th under Ralf Ragnick but the performances were more shocking than the fact United had run out of gas.
What will happen to Manchester United?
Well, there could be a major issue of missing out on Champions League football next season. This is a big financial pull as well as a stature greater than that of the Europa League.
With Spurs still in the racing pack they could overtake United but the most likely candidate will be the resurgent bitter rivals Liverpool.
After months of Liverpool being bad, they have picked up wins along the way and been grateful that United (and Newcastle) are dropping points.
With just one point to separate the northwest rivals, it will go down to the bitter end of the season. However, it is totally in the hands of United who do have a game in their favour.
They need to gain form, they need to control games and ultimately they need to get maximum points in their final four games.