With the season almost finished and the title all but sewn up, this may be a strange thing to say but is this a season of missed opportunity for the Red Devils?
Now after the heartbreak of losing the title in such fashion as last season, many United fans would have been happy with the ease in which they are going to regain the title this term. However for Britain’s biggest team, who have dominated a poor Premier League season, is this enough?
There is no doubt that United deserve the league this year, but what of their rivals?
City, Chelsea and Arsenal have all had their problems this season.
All three have experienced managerial issues. City have seemed to stand still on what they won last year and no one seems to know whether Roberto Mancini will still be in charge at the start of next season? Chelsea have been in a sense of turmoil since replacing Roberto Di Matteo with Rafa Benitez with fans constantly on the back of the interim manager and Arsenal fans are beginning to grow more and more frustrated with the lack of trophies at the club and in particular Arsene Wenger.
So should United have been more dominant in the cup competitions?
You can bet Sir Alex Ferguson will be disappointed with the lack of challenge his team has put forward in the knockout competitions.
Yes, their exit from the Champions League was unfortunate. Firstly drawing Real Madrid in the first knock out round and then Nani was unlucky to be sent off in the decisive 2nd leg at Old Trafford and from then on in with only 10 men Real were bound to score the away goals required and subsequently go through. But this is now 2 consecutive seasons in which United have failed to reach the quater finals. A deeper issue?
Fergie’s men have also now gone 9 years since picking up the FA Cup, a competition the club won 3 times in 6 years during the 90’s. This seasons exit to Chelsea in the last 8 will again have infuriated the United boss. They led 2-0 at home and were cruising before Chelsea pegged them back and won the replay.
Although the League Cup may not be of paramount importance to the so called bigger teams, it is still a chance to pick up a trophy, something in which United failed to deliver again. The league Cup was the last domestic cup trophy (excluding the Community Shield) that United have won since 2010, 3 years, the second longest spell of Fergie’s reign.
The fact that it could even be considered that Manchester United have had a poor season is testament to the dominance of the club over English football in recent years. United haven’t reached a final since that League Cup win in 2010 and despite (soon to be) 2nd title in that period I believe Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking for better from his players on the cup front next season as he looks to pick up perhaps some of his final pieces of silverware.
So what is wrong with United?
There is a lot of talk about where this United team would stand in comparison to others of the Fergie era. It is undoubtedly full of talent as has been shown on their gallop to the title. But does it lack strength in depth? Does the team need a midfielder to control big games? Is there not quite the same unity?
For me there is a lack in strength in depth in certain areas. It cannot be argued that United have great talent and depth going forward but I think in midfield they do need one or two more experienced, world class players to be able to compete in big games on all fronts. United have a lot of young players who are yet to grow into their full potential in Buttner, Smalling, Jones, Cleverley and Welbeck. As well as now young pair Wilfried Zaha and Nick Powell. Encouragingly a majority of these are English players and in a few years time, once at their full potential could see this good Manchester United side, turn into an excellent one.