Manchester United: Why the Red Devils Should Take the EPL Lead in November

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The English Premier League title race is beginning to heat up and the contenders for the title are beginning to bring themselves up to the top of the table.

Two of those potential title contenders played each other on Sunday in league play and will square off again at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.

Currently, Chelsea lead second place Manchester United by one point after United's 3-2 win over the league leaders on Sunday. Now, heading into the month of November, both clubs will face completely different schedules that should let United take the lead in the EPL table.

After facing Chelsea on Wednesday and hosting Arsenal on Saturday at Old Trafford, Manchester United's schedule becomes a lot easier. Although United will face four straight road matches in the EPL and Champions League, the opponents on the schedule are far from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

The first of those four matches may be the most difficult as they travel to Portugal to face Braga, a club that gave United a difficult first half at Old Trafford last week.

After their Champions League road trip, the Red Devils will visit two of the bottom five clubs in the EPL table in Aston Villa and Norwich City, followed by a Champions League visit to Galatasaray, who only have one point through three Group H matches.

After their three week absence from Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson's club will play two EPL matches at home in four days against lowly QPR and an upstart West Ham club.

On the other hand, Chelsea play five EPL clubs in November, the lowest placed club in that group being 12th placed Liverpool. The Blues also have two Champions League matches with Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus, which will not be very easy tasks as both clubs are in first place domestically.

Chelsea's first November match comes up on Saturday when they visit Swansea City, who are have earned eight of their 11 points at the Liberty Stadium. The only other EPL road match that the Blues encounter in the next month will be when they visit West Brom, who are also an excellent home club as they have earned 12 of their 14 points at The Hawthorns.

Chelsea's other three matches in November occur at Stamford Bridge and are against difficult opponents in Liverpool, Fulham and third placed Manchester City.

With regards to the title race, the November fixtures of both clubs will not decide the title race but it most definitely could change who is in the lead going into December.

Manchester United have the easier schedule and should earn close to the full 15 points out of their November EPL matches, with Arsenal being the toughest test. If Chelsea do take a full 15 points, it would be somewhat of a shock, but if they do it would cement their hold on the league lead and make them the true favorite for the league title.

In United's case, if they stumble against any of the lower placed clubs they will be questioned just like Arsenal was after their loss to Norwich two weeks ago.

If Ferguson and company remain perfect during the month, they will be viewed as a club that is able to win the matches they are supposed to and a club that will not slip up in their pursuit of reclaiming the EPL title.

In Chelsea's case, if they are able to win all month, especially against Manchester City, they will be seen as a club that are a true title contender that are able to win on the road in difficult venues and at home against the league's biggest clubs.

No matter what the month ahead brings to both Manchester United and Chelsea, there is no doubt the next month will show how both clubs handle easy and difficult fixtures this season.