Manchester United now find themselves 14 points behind their cross town rivals Manchester City but they do have the opportunity in which to reduce that deficit back down to 11 points as they travel to a West Brom side that have not won any of their last 15 league outings.
Alan Pardew’s men currently sit second bottom in the Premier League after yesterday’s results and although they are not winning games as of late they are still relatively hard to beat. Since the sacking of Tony Pulis, the Baggies have only lost one of their last five league outings.
But it is failure to convert those draws into wins which is proving to be their undoing and their run of games without a win has finally caught up with them, the league table does not lie and 19th is arguably a true reflection of their performances this season.
Alan Pardew will arguably be most frustrated at the fact that his team lost to basement club Swansea while picking up points in the perceived tougher fixtures, the former Crystal Palace and Newcastle boss is trying to implement his idea and they are working to a certain degree but you get the feeling that the progress needs to come along a bit quicker.
They can ill afford to go 16 games without a win in this league, that is frankly relegation form but at the same time if you were to offer a glimmer of hope it is the fact that are not caught adrift by any means, whether that says more about the quality of the teams around them I’m not too sure.
Should they find that first win since the second weekend of the season when they beat Burnley at Turf Moor they will they move to the heady heights of 14th. This just shows how congested it is in the bottom half of the table at this present moment in time.
They are going to have their work cut out though against a United side who bounced back after defeat in the Manchester derby in the ideal fashion as they earned maximum points against Bournemouth in the midweek thanks to a goal from Romelu Lukaku.
The win over Eddie Howe’s men on Wednesday would have softened the blow that defeat caused this time last week but you get the feeling it will still be rankling with Jose Mourinho as he all but knows that another Premier League title attempt has slipped through his hands.
Luaku’s winning goal on Wednesday would have atoned for his two defensive errors last weekend at Old Trafford as the Belgian unwittingly played a part in both of Manchester City’s goals as they went on to earn a record equalling 14th win in the Premier League.
And with City now long gone in distance, it is almost as if United now have to make sure they keep Chelsea out of second place with both teams equal on points going into this afternoon’s clash. Only an absolute disaster in the form of a stunning 9-0 defeat would see them drop to third.
That is of course very unlikely but failure to win at The Hawthorns would see pressure put on them in the race for second but then again you could well argue that with second to fourth paying out the same prize at the end of the season in the form of a Champions League place then it would not make all that difference in the grand scheme of things.
Ultimately Mourinho would have had designs on the title and now with that hope all but gone it is just a case of making sure a top four finish is secured come the end of the season, that said I think they will extend West Brom’s misery this afternoon as I reckon it will be an away win.
Here is what social media thinks will happen -you can still vote on the outcome
Time for some Sunday scientific Premier League polls
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 17, 2017