Friday, 31 May 2013

5 reasons why United won the title with ease:

Manchester United have won the EPL title many times over the past ten seasons, with strong sides and star players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Edwin Van Der Sar all proving why they are some of the best players in the world. 

However, this season the United squad in general was not as strong as it has been in recent years and defensive frailties have been exposed by teams in Europe throughout during the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League campaign. 

This blog post covers 5 of the main reasons why Manchester United won the title with ease despite struggling to cope with many teams in Europe and what could happen in the future. 

Easy ride? In this blog post I explore the reasons why United on the title this season with ease.

Record-breaking: United won the title this season, with an overall average squad compare to usual seasons.

5 Reasons: 

  • Robin van Persie
  • Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all being too busy worrying about CL qualification to challenge for the title
  • Sir Alex Ferguson and his impact on his last year before retirement
  • Mancini slacking at Manchester City
  • United's disappointment in Europe

The first reason has to be one of the most obvious reasons also - Robin van Persie.

Sir Alex Ferguson shocked the world last August announcing the arrival of the Dutch striker for a transfer fee of £24million pounds - which was considered controversial and intriguing at the time seeing as a 29-year-old injury-prone forward who had struggled to consistently perform for Arsenal in all but one of his seven years at the club was suddenly moving to United after an impressive season in 2011-12.

Main factor: Sir Alex Ferguson's £24m signing of Robin van Persie may be regarded as his best in charge.
Robin van Persie ended up being a major factor in United's title charge as he scored 30 goals in all competitions this season - and also won the coveted Golden Boot for the second consecutive year running with 26 EPL goals in-front of Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale among others. 

He hit a bad run of form with 1 goal in 10 games midway through the season, but bounced back with 3 goals in 2 games to prove his doubters wrong that his age is not holding his solid performances back. 

Football pundits and media alike now feel that the £24million pounds SAF spent on van Persie was actually a bargain but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to have the same effect for United next season under a new manager....

Another reason why United won the title easily this season was because it was basically a two-horse race throughout the campaign as Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham were all too busy focusing on their respective European camapigns along with trying to secure their place in Europe for next season.

Arsenal and Chelsea both qualified for the CL - but Chelsea struggled in their group and finished in 3rd place which ultimately sealed their place in the Europa League. They got all the way to the final where they beat Portugese side Benfica to win their second European competition in two years.

Meanwhile, The Gunners crashed out in the Last 16 of the CL against Bayern Munich (who would eventually go on to win the competition) on away goal rule. 

Tottenham had a dramatic season in all competitions, even so in the Europa League where they qualified out of the group stage before beating Lyon and Inter Milan but losing to FC Basel on penalties in the quarter-finals. 

Bale has attracted interest from PSG and Real Madrid after impressive performances in the EPL and Europa League this season.

All three clubs were all busy in Europe - which City and United both had the privilege of not being involved (depends what you think) and meant it was a two-horse race.

When Manchester City started to crumble during mid-season, United took advantage of their rivals dropping points and increased the gap at the top of the table.

The third reason why United have had such success in England this year is because of Sir Alex Ferguson. 
Not many people knew at the start of the season that he would be announcing his retirement, but he confirmed a couple of years ago that he would be retiring soon yet no-one actually believd he would leave his post at United.

After the heartbreak of a late dramatic title loss to Manchester City on the last day of the season this time last year, SAF signalled his intent and hunger to win back his title crown signing Robin van Persie along with building on the team's weaknesses and fitness during pre-season.

The whole team was then determined and focused on giving their loyal supporters what they really wanted - a record 20th title.

The fourth reason why United won the EPL title with ease was because the other club involved in the two-horse title race struggled and were slacking throughout periods of the season with shock losses and draws against teams they should have been beating.

This team is of course Manchester City, who seemed to lack the ambition and desire to retain their EPL crown and kept looking over their shoulder before eventually giving up the fight mid-way through the season.

Here are a couple of results that show their lack of desire:

  • November 3: 0-0 vs West Ham
  • December 1: 1-1 vs Everton
  • December 26: 1-0 loss vs Sunderland
  • December 29: 4-3 win vs Norwich
  • February 9: 3-1 loss vs Southampton
  • March 16: 2-0 loss vs Everton
  • May 4: 0-0 vs Swansea
  • May 19 (last day): 3-2 loss vs Norwich

There is no hiding the fact that Manchester City HAVE had a poor season and a disappointing one at that - knocked out of the Champions League group stages, losing to Aston Villa in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup, losing in the FA Cup Final to Wigan in the last minute.

This is part of the reason why Manchester City have sacked Roberto Mancini along with the fact that he has no tactical awareness and just happens to argue and fall out with all of his players.

Backing: Some supporters wanted Mancini to stay - amid reports Manuel Pellegrino is taking over.

The fifth and final reason why United excelled in England this year was simple - They failed in Europe.

This may sound weird, but it actually spurred United on to win a trophy. 
They struggled against most of the European teams including Galatasaray and Braga because their leaky defence was exposed and they could not score many goals as well as the "injustice" as Spanish side Real Madrid beat ten-men United at Old Trafford in the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

Everyone else in the top 5 for the EPL (apart from City) was in European competition apart from United for the remainder of the season which caused fatigue and inconsistency from January onwards which helped United's title bid.

However, next season things may be very different... 

Manchester City - Pellegrini moving to City may be beneficial for the club, bringing some world-class players with him to challenge for the title next season including Isco and Cavani.

Chelsea - Mourinho has been heavily linked with the Chelsea job over the past few months, especially after leaving Real Madrid just after the end of the season after only one trophy in three years capping off a disappointing spell at Real. He is quite literally worshipped at Chelsea, and a move back to England would boost both morale and The Blues' desire to win something under him again.

Arsenal - Transfer rumours are running rampant for The Gunners as they reportedly have up to £70million to spend as they look to win their first piece of silverware in 9 years and break the history books with a decent crop of players. Among the players rumoured to move to north London are Asmir Begovic, Gonzalo Higuain and Stefan Jovetic, but we will have to wait and see again if Wenger is willing to spend his money now that he has it.. 

Tottenham Hotspur - They are determined more than ever to qualify for the Champions League, and they know that Gareth Bale may not be there for long if they continue to fight in the Europa League. Therefore Andre Villas Boas needs to make some big signings to have a significant impact on his Spurs side, as well as a striker to take some of the load of his Welsh talisman Bale....

Manchester United - It will be re-building time for United as they announced their first new manager for over 25 years in the form of David Moyes. Many players and staff will still be shocked at the retirement of SAF, but Moyes needs to spend well in the transfer market to ensure that his squad is strong enough to defend from the advances of their title rivals.
At the moment United are linked with many midfielders including Fellaini, Fabregas, Bender and a potential move back to England for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Whatever happens, next season's EPL will be very intriguing.. 

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