Paul Merson has described Manchester United being out of the title race by the beginning of December as “unheard of” for England’s most successful club.
That may be a bit extreme as we’ve had many dark times – including this post-Ferguson period – but he’s right because United’s season thus far has been truly unacceptable.
The money spent, the players signed and the lack of progression from last season. Jose Mourinho deserves some stick, but he’s not alone in United’s fall from grace as it began long before he become part of the Old Trafford furniture.
“I’m going to go for them [Manchester United] to win but I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports predictions column.
The former Arsenal player isn’t convinced by the Reds but puts his 2-0 prediction down to the Saints’ ongoing struggles.
“There must be something wrong at Southampton for them to be the way they are though, they can’t buy a game, and the result at Fulham was a shocker. The way it’s going, they’ll be playing Portsmouth next season.”
Surely, if the Saints keep losing games the club will axe former United forward Mark Hughes. The game later today will see two managers under pressure go head-to-head, though the feeling at the moment is Sparky will be the first to go.
Football is a results business and it’s hard to see Southampton get enough points between now and the end of the season to secure their place in the Premier League for next season.
And, Mourinho knows if his players don’t get a run of wins together between now and Christmas, mounting a challenge for a top four finish will become extremely difficult.