Since the Premier League season restarted, following its corona-enforced hiatus, Manchester United have looked a completely different team. After a slow start to what has been an extended campaign, United are now unbeaten in 10 league matches, a run that began in February, prior to the suspension – and are finally starting to be fancied again in English Premier League odds. Currently in fifth place, with a single point separating them from Leicester City in fourth and further point behind Chelsea in third, a top-four finish is firmly in their sights and by no means unachievable.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has to take credit for sparking their revival, with the Red Devils’ most recent win – a 3-0 whitewash over relegation-threatened Aston Villa – a record-breaking result. Their margin of victory saw United become the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive matches by a margin of three or more goals.
The goals have been flowing since they were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham Hotspur when the season resumed, with 3-0 victories over Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion, as well as a 5-2 thumping of Bournemouth, in addition to their most recent triumph.
Anthony Martial has been in fine form, not only bagging a hat-trick in that demolition of Brighton, but also netting in the following match at Old Trafford to take his season’s tally to 15 goals. Product of the Red Devils’ academy, Mason Greenwood has four goals in three matches, including a brace against troubled Bournemouth – and it’s been a remarkable breakthrough season for the teenager. With 16 goals already this campaign, Greenwood is likely to overhaul the joint-record set by George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney, all of whom recorded 17 goals in a season as teenagers.
Also pivotal to United’s recent form is Portuguese playmaker, Bruno Fernandes, who was recently named the Premier League Player of the Month for June – and with good reason. Since the resumption of the English top-flight, Fernandes has scored five goals, assisting his teammates on three occasions, and has become an integral cog to the middle of the park. Adding to his accolade received in February, prior to the league’s suspension, Fernandes became the first Manchester United player since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 to bag back-to-back awards and is worthy of his plaudits.
Having stuck with the same starting XI for four matches now, Solskjær won’t be rushing to ring the changes – United are in the momentum and with just four games remaining, why alter a winning formula? Their run-in is kind too – Southampton and Crystal Palace are both sitting pretty in midtable, with nothing to play for, and while West Ham could well be staving off a possible relegation battle, all associated with the red side of Manchester will be hoping it doesn’t come down to the wire, when they face top-four rivals Leicester.
While the Norwegian will ensure his team focuses on their remaining matches and completing the task in hand, he will be mindful that if the Foxes drop points in either of their upcoming fixtures against the over-achieving Blades or Spurs, the pendulum will swing and United will be back in the ascendancy. It’s been a long season – and one that will continue after the conclusion of the Premier League. With a five-goal advantage going into the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie against LASK, all eyes will be on the quarter-finals – and by going on to win the competition, the Red Devils will be rewarded with the ultimate prize of Champions League football next term, although of course, a top-four finish is still a must!