OK, so Manchester United may not have won the Premier League title just yet.
They will, though. For all intents and purposes the title race is over. For the purpose of this article, let us say that they have won the league we still expect them to.
Now that we have established that, we can establish that this current Manchester United team are no great shakes.
To their credit they can only beat what is put out in front of them. Sir Alex Ferguson can only look after Manchester United, and the fact that Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are in periods of decline is not his fault.
Manchester United deserve to win the Premier League title because they are the best team the league has to offer.
They may not be the typical champions we want, but they are the champions we and the league deserve.
They are no Arsenal 1998, 2002 or 2004; they are no Manchester United of 1999, 2000, 2001 or even 2009; and they are no Chelsea of 2005 or 2010. Each of the teams named in the preceding sentence set new standards in English football.
This 2013 Manchester United team have set no standards because they did not have to.
David De Gea is an above average goalkeeper, no more and no less. In time he may grow into being a top-class 'keeper like Peter Schmeichel, David Seaman or Petr Cech. At the moment, though, he is nowhere near.
Their defence is decidedly average too.
Rafael may be the most improved player and defender at Old Trafford this season, but he does not compare with the likes of Gary Neville, Denis Irwin, Ashley Cole or even Paul Parker who was quite superb in 1993-94.
Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand are average defenders at best. Nemanja Vidic has endured an injury-hit couple of seasons and on his day he is a class act. However, he has not shown enough of that quality this season.
Patrice Evra has been good this season but has been in decline since the heights of 2009 when he was named in the PFA, UEFA and FIFA team's of the season.
Across midfield the Red Devils have, quite possibly, the worst midfield since Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95.
Michael Carrick is not a great player. He is little more than a good player despite winning the Premier League title in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and soon to be 2013. The fact that he will soon have five titles to his name is testament to him as a professional, but that does not take away from the fact he is good at best. He would get nowhere near any of the teams mentioned in the previous paragraphs.
Tom Cleverley is a lesser player than Carrick, but is more mobile. Anderson is a lesser player than Cleverley.
And Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are finished at the highest level despite Giggs' recent great performance against Real Madrid. In truth they do not compare favourably with their own great former glories and the players who inspired title wins in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 or 2003.
To United's credit, they are a different force going forward than at the back.
Wayne Rooney is a supreme talent who has the potential to match Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if not on the same level of consistency. Robin van Persie is an incredible player and his goalscoring record in recent seasons compares favourably against the very best. Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy come to mind when thinking of great strikers of the past.
Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia are probably the best group of wide players in the Premier League and can destroy any team on their day. They are, however, no Giggs, Lee Sharpe and Andrei Kanchelskis circa 1994 or even Giggs and David Beckham circa 1999. Be that as it is, they are still good players bar Nani whose game has the ability to be exceptional in the first half and sheer excrement in the second.
What Manchester United do have over other teams of yesteryear is a squad with no less-than-average players.
The weakest players would command places in previous squads because Sir Alex Ferguson has consistency drummed into them. They never give less than 100 percent, and if they do they are dropped unceremoniously.
Every United player lives and breathes by the Scot's credo of "self-sacrifice before self-indulgence."
In that respect, Manchester United deserve huge credit for being better than the sum of their parts.
It does not make them a great team, though, no matter how many points they win the Premier League by.
Statistics provided by www.whoscored.com, www.soccerbase.com and www.premierleague.com.
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