Could This Be a Record-Breaking Season for Manchester United?
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To those who thought this was a modest Manchester United squad, it must be a shock that this could be a record-breaking season on so many fronts.
Does this suggest that the Premier League has gotten worse recently? Is it really sufficient to explain the change in fortunes by one signing, that of Robin van Persie?
Or is it possible that Sir Alex has built a squad including 23 full internationals, few of whom are genuinely world class, and blended them as a team to become record-breakers?
There is an old cliche that "you can only beat what is in front of you."
Of the other "Big Four," United have beaten Liverpool twice and Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City once. They could still achieve a 100 percent record against these teams.
And even though it was whispered, a second "Treble" was still on until a blatantly wrong refereeing decision ended the dream against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Nobody else has ever won a Treble before in English football. We shall now never know whether United could have had two.
Premier League records to be set
For starters they need eight wins and one draw from their last 10 games to beat Chelsea's highest Premier League points tally of 95 in 2004/05 (which is also a record in the top flight of English football).
To beat their own record from 1993/94 United would need 93 points (seven wins and one draw). This would also beat Chelsea's highest number of wins in a season, which is set at 29.
United can also equal the Blues' records of 18 home wins and 15 away wins, but it would take an average of 3.6 goals per game to beat the Stamford Bridge outfit's highest number of goals scored ever at 103.
When you consider that there are home matches against Chelsea and Manchester City and an away fixture at Arsenal to complete, it would probably take several high-scoring matches to get to 104.
If he scores against Stoke City and Aston Villa before the season ends, however, van Persie could match his own and Ian Wright's achievement of finding the net against 17 different sides in one season.
A 20th title would be yet another top-flight record for Manchester United, which would then have 10 more Premier League titles than Arsenal and Chelsea. And of course at 13, more than everyone else put together.
They can still take Arsenal's record of 14 consecutive EPL wins, but that would require a 100 percent record to the end of the season.
If they can avoid drawing a match through to May, they can beat Chelsea's all-time low of three. This would also mean they would match City's record of no home draws in a season.
While they can no longer beat their own record for the Premier League's record attendance because the Stadium capacity has been reduced, United will still set many other new aggregate highs, simply by being clearly the most successful Premier League and top-flight team of all time.
So if they finish with 93 points, they will still have by far the greatest total: points, goals, goal difference and matches won. Their average points per season would also increase.
By now most supporters of other teams will have gone elsewhere, but there are still some individual records to consider.
He is the only player to score in every Premier League season, and the only teams he hasn't scored against yet are Reading and Swansea. Among his many other records, if United won the Double, he would have 13 Premier League winners' medals and 36 medals in total.
He also has the most career appearances for one top-flight club in history, but that's what you get at Manchester United: undying loyalty. He sits among the ranks of Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Wayne Rooney and many more; they may not all have started at United but they came to stay.
There is no other club, or manager, or footballing record haul like theirs. And there is no need to catalogue Sir Alex Ferguson's astonishing record of achievement because most of it is captured in the weight of numbers and facts in this article.
Surely the greatest manager in history?
The most successful team in history
It is, of course, more than a mere footnote that the club has the most FA Cup wins (11) and the most Final appearances (18) in English history.
On so many counts United are the greatest team in English football history, on a par with Real Madrid's pre-eminence in Spain until Barcelona came along.
So many people resent that success, claiming that it is because United are so wealthy, but those riches are much more than financial. They have a footballing model that is the bedrock of their new commercial and business model.
No other top flight team in English history has produced more successful young players.
Whatever Sheikh Mansour and his millions might do, it would take 25 years' success to craft a reputation that comes close to the Red Devils.
People conveniently forget that United have had to be rescued financially more than once in their history; that their ground was bombed into oblivion in the War; and that their greatest team ever was killed in a plane crash a mere 55 years ago.
As City and other football fans around the world will tell you, United don't even come from the City of Manchester, and neither do most of their supporters. That surely makes them the most global football club ever.
The simple fact is that United are the most loved and at the same time most hated club in the world. I am blessed to always be one of 75,000 devotees who worship at the shrine every match.
Until Tuesday night...
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