Man United’s title talk premature with real test approaching

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If any song is fed through Manchester United’s training ground speakers following their 4-0 win over QPR at the weekend it should be Dinah Washington’s What a Difference a Day Makes.

Having gone four games without a win in any competition it was almost possible to see the gloom evaporate out of Old Trafford, as Louis van Gaal finally celebrated his first competitive victory as Red Devils’ boss.

Now all of a sudden the formally beleaguered boss is talking of Premier League trophies and topping scoring charts.

The betting reflects the general positivity that suddenly encases the former top-flight tormentors.

Having been 14/1 to win this year’s title before the QPR battering United were cut to 10s after the match, only to be backed in further to sit at 9/1.

But before following the pound signs on a wave of optimism to the bet slip, consider that all United achieved was a win over the side that had the lowest finish of the top-flight’s current crop last term.

While the performance was a definite step in the right direction, QPR provided next-to-no resistance and cannot be considered a genuine test of United’s new era.

The real test isn’t far off, as Van Gaal pits his wits against Everton, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal over the course of October and November. Only once that tricky path has been negotiated can the club’s title merits be truly analysed.

There’s a feeling, led by Harry Redknapp, that the Red Devil backline, which is both injury struck and inexperienced, will fail to contain the attacking behemoths that other title challengers boast.

Then again Van Gaal, a self-confessed attacking-football addict, may argue that defending is a mere inconsequence when he possesses a forward quadrant of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria, capable of going toe-to-toe with the league’s best.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.