If the right acquisition is to be made, Manchester United may begin to think they can fight for the Premier League title, but achieving a top four position on a consistent basis should be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s current main goal.
The club may have managed to achieve this achievement last season, but their 2020/21 campaign has already seen the problems of the previous campaign start to creep in. The Red Devils were defeated by Crystal Palace in the opening game after a rather poor performance and one that many would not associate with a side looking to qualify for the Champions League.
According to historical data disclosed by Betway, they cannot afford any more mishaps, as the first 10 games of the Premier League season could prove extremely important in qualifying for the major competition once again.
There is no doubt that England’s top league has gotten even tougher as the years have gone by, but what has happened over the past decade is quite remarkable, when all things considered.
Legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, appeared to identify this before anybody else, as he admitted he had to make changes to his side’s approach to winning the title.
Speaking in 2012, he said: “If you go back 12 years, our norm was to start the season slowly and build up to the second half.
“That changed when Chelsea won the title two years in a row. We had to change our pre-season approach.”
Between 2001 and 2010, eight different teams were able to say they were fourth after the first 10 games, however, between 2010 and 2020 that roster became a rather exclusive six – Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United; the so-called “Big Six”.
Indeed, there is evidence that a quick start in the pursuit of Champions League football for the following season is hugely advantageous, as the teams that placed fourth averaged 19.1 points in their first 10 games – six wins and a draw.
Of course, that potentially leaves two games available to sort things out, however Solsjkaer has already used one of them and with a number of challenging games coming up in the next nine, things on paper look a little concerning.
Brighton and Hove Albion (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), Newcastle United (away), Chelsea (home), Arsenal (home), Everton (away), West Bromwich Albion (home), Southampton (away) and West Ham United (away) will all need to be faced to conclude the first 10 Premier League games of the 2020/21 season and there are plenty of possibilities for a slip-up to happen.