Manchester United have needed the dramatic start to the season to develop, thinks analyst Gary Neville. After defeats in the first two league games, Erik ten Hag faltered, but afterwards his team started the way up. On Tuesday evening, Manchester United booked their fourth league victory in a row against Bournemouth .
Manchester United started with painful defeats against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford. Captain Harry Maguire was subsequently removed from the starting eleven. Furthermore, the start of The Red Devils was overshadowed by constant rumours about Cristiano Ronaldo, who eventually left with a blow. “After the bad start and after the events surrounding Ronaldo and Maguire, they have come together as a team in a way that would not have been possible if the start of the season had gone well or normal,” Neville told Sky Sports. “Ten Hag is now firmly in the saddle, but they need a striker.”
Neville would be surprised if Manchester United finish outside the top four this season. The lead on number five Tottenham Hotspur is now five points. “We are only 17 games into the game and there is still a long way to go. Anything could happen, but it looks like they really have something on their hands. They have added experience to the midfield with Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes. They seem to have become wiser. Marcus Rashford is in good shape. They need a striker, but they have attackers who are in shape. Defensively it is not very strong, but they are doing well,” he suggested.
“League-leaders Arsenal have a nine-point lead. Neville did not rule out Manchester United still interfering in the title fight and put an important advantage over The Gunners . Manchester United are getting stronger. They have more players available than Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is doing great, but has a big problem when he loses one centre-back. Manchester United has four centre-backs. The strength lies in the breadth of the selection. We’ll know more in a few weeks,” the former defender added. Manchester United’s next two league games are against title contenders Manchester City and Arsenal.
Arsenal made little impression on Neville against Newcastle United ( 0-0 ) on Tuesday evening. “Before this game, we had only played 16 games. Then you are still miles away from the title. I know there is talk about the title chances of these two teams. Personally, I didn’t see the champion at work today,” said the analyst. “But I didn’t see Arsenal as champions at the start of the season, so it’s great where they are now.”