In losing 2-1 at home to West Brom, Manchester United confirmed their worst start to a Premier League campaign since Alex Ferguson’s first term, and they are now fourth favourites to retain the title they won by 11 points last season, priced at 13/2.
David Moyes was gracious in defeat but United’s lack of imagination in midfield was painfully apparent: Nani again failed to justify his recent big-money contract extension, Shinji Kagawa’s football is a damning translation of the club’s obvious lack of faith in him and whilst Marouane Fellaini’s languid passing may have created chances for Everton, it is unlikely to tear open deep-sitting away teams at Old Trafford.
United have no divine right to win this league, or even finish in the top four, so making sure they’re in touch at Christmas must now become their priority. In January Moyes can go about fulfilling an unenviable task inherited from his predecessor: Finding a suitable replacement to Paul Scholes.
Earlier in the day Tottenham welcomed Chelsea to White Hart Lane and after an entertaining match, a 1-1 draw was probably a fair result. Again it was 21-year-old Christian Eriksen who stood out despite being among such valuable and distinguished company.
That performance will be particularly galling to Red Devil fans who must be wondering how a player who was perpetually linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past, was allowed to move to North London for the paltry sum £11.5m – only £16m less than Fellaini.
Juan Mata was again left on the sidelines by Jose Mourinho but his half-time introduction proved to be a shrewd one as his cross resulted in John Terry’s equaliser.
If Mata continues to be put on the bench by Mourinho he would presumably look for a new club and as a proven Premier League and Champions League performer, the diminutive Spaniard could be the answer to Man United’s problems.
In the evening kick-off Arsenal extended their winning streak to eight games but Arsene Wenger must be another man waiting anxiously for the transfer window to open. If Arsenal can stay top and lure a quality striker and central defender to the club, there is no reason the Gunners can’t win the league, a 9/2 shot.
All Odds and Markets correct at time of publication
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