You can’t get better than three wins from three, a maximum nine points and 10 goals scored and none conceded, can you? Manchester United have certainly set themselves a high bar to follow. But, having burst out of the blocks faster than United fan Usain Bolt during his pomp, can Jose Mourinho’s men continue their imperious form into September following the latest international break and top the table for a second month in succession?
After hammering Swansea 4-0 and dispatching West Ham and Leicester with similar ease, with trips upcoming to Stoke City and Southampton and home games against Everton and Crystal Palace to come, Mourinho will be confident of United continuing their impressive form, and let’s be honest, when is the self-styled ‘Special One’ anything other than confident? September’s fixtures look anything but daunting for United to be fair. Here we examine five reasons why the Red Devils could and possibly should still be top of the Premier League table come the next international sojourn in early October.
The big Belgian forward has begun his career at The Theatre Of Dreams much as he finished his spell at Goodison Park by finding the net with unerring accuracy. Having become the first Everton player since Gary Lineker back in 1986 to break the 20-goal barrier in a single campaign, Lukaku has found the back of the net three times in his first three league matches for United and looks destined to once again challenge Harry Kane for his twice-won Golden Boot award. Having already developed a great understanding and relationship with Paul Pogba et al, Lukaku could be ready to emulate United legend Cristiano Ronaldo in breaking the 30-goal barrier this season. Having already notched 88 goals in 186 Premier League games during his six years in the Premier League, United’s £90 million man is looking likely to continue his great start over the next few weeks.
As strong as United have looked going forward during the first three weeks of the season, they have looked equally impressive at the back with no goals conceded in the first three matches of the campaign. Three clean sheets could quite easily stretch to four, five or six over the coming weeks with the fixtures looking kind. United’s defence was always an area of strength during the Sir Alex Ferguson years and after a number of seasons with an unsettled and inconsistent back line, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are beginning to show signs of being the finished article as a pairing. Only time will tell if they are given the opportunity to form a long term partnership in the mould of Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, but the early signs are promising.
Matic the Midfield Master
What a signing the Serbian midfielder has proved to be in the first few matches of the season. United and Mourinho must have been laughing all the way to the bank at Chelsea’s willingness to allow their midfield maestro to depart Stamford Bridge. A pivotal player during the west London club’s two title triumphs in three years, one under Mourinho, the Portuguese will have been ecstatic at signing the 29-year-old left-footed anchor for a fee of £40 million, despite his advancing years. Calmness personified on the ball and with an ability to go forward and create opportunities for the attackers, Matic could well prove to be the player United have been yearning for since the retirement of the legendary Paul Scholes in 2013.
Quality of the Opposition
On paper, United look likely to be pushing for the title this season, especially given their strong start to the campaign. With an outlay of over £170 million during the summer, Mourinho has strengthened the core of the squad hugely and with Everton and Palace due to visit Old Trafford in September and with trips to Stoke and Southampton upon the horizon, the likelihood of completing September unbeaten and still top of the pile is highly promising.
Second Season History
History suggests that Mourinho always enjoys a better campaign second time around. Having won the Portuguese league title during his second season in charge of FC Porto as well as La Liga during his second season at the helm of Real Madrid, in addition to league titles at Chelsea and Internazionale, Mourinho will be hoping to deliver a first Premier League title to the red half of Manchester since Fergie’s retirement in 2013. Having delivered nine points from a possible nine so far, Mourinho’s tactical nous and ability to outfox his opponents could prove pivotal to United’s chances of winning a record 21st league title.
Only time will tell if United can usurp their rivals across the city and down the M62 to win the title next May. However, with four winnable games on the horizon, the odds of United retaining top spot come the end of September remain high. You can find all the best odds on the Premier League by perusing the football betting markets at Sun Bets.
Chris qualified from the University of Brighton in 2007 with a degree in Sports Journalism and is a sports fanatic, spending pretty much all of his money following the Welsh national football team all over Europe (and yes spending five weeks on tour with Wales in France at Euro 2016). He has written for numerous websites and has two fully published football biographies to his name. Chris also enjoys rugby union, cycling and politics and enjoys a regular (okay daily!) punt on football.