Manchester United: 9 Reasons They Are Still the Favourites to Win the League

James WillisAnalyst IMarch 14, 2011

Manchester United: 9 Reasons They Are Still the Favourites to Win the League

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    Having gone unbeaten in the League for so long, Manchester United were until recently heavy favourites to win the League Title. With Chelsea struggling, Manchester City a number of points behind (and games ahead) of their rivals and Arsenal also falling behind, United looked far and away the best team in the League.

    Since then however, the club's unbeaten run was broken by none other than Wolverhampton Wanderers, and they've since gone on to lose against both Chelsea and Liverpool.

    Having dropped these points, they are lucky Arsenal (who lead the chasing pack) have also dropped the occasional point, but thanks to a game in hand they could now draw level with their title rivals.

    Here are 9 reasons that Manchester United should still be considered title favourites.

Arsenal's Recent Form

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    Arsenal have not been on their best form of late, as is evidenced by their recent cup exits. The club dropped points to Sunderland recently in the Premier League missing out on a valuable chance to overtake United in the League table.

    Admittedly, the team should have won the match against Sunderland, but they also should have made the margin between themselves and their opponents bigger.

    The team also dropped points to Newcastle at the beginning of February in a game which few Arsenal fans would want to be reminded of.

    Since then they've beaten Wolves and Stoke in the Premier League but only by smaller 2-0 and 1-0 score lines respectively.

    Their form could cost them the Premier League title, if United's doesn't.

Manuel Almunia

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    There's little wrong with Almunia as a goalkeeper, but if you want to be challenging for the Premier League title, you need someone a little more reliable.

    Wojciech Szczesny was the goalkeeper Arsenal had been looking for for a very long time, and despite being young still, he has shown an unusual amount of maturity in his period between the Arsenal sticks.

    With the youngster now out of action for about six weeks and Lukasz Fabianski also injured, the club have been relying on Manuel Almunia, with the unheard of James Shea on the bench. For a team hoping to win the Premier League title, that's not good enough.

    Rumours have circulated of the club trying to call in ex-goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on emergency loan, but until Almunia is unavailable it is unlikely the Premier League would allow such a move.

Arsenal Have Fallen at the Biggest Hurdle Every Competition

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    Not to repeat the first slide, but Arsenal have fallen out of three competitions over the course of a fortnight.

    The club could be forgiven for dropping out of the Champions League to the unbelievable team that is Barcelona, but to have lost in the Carling Cup final to Birmingham will be seen as a huge confidence blow for the team.

    The club have also dropped out of the FA Cup to none other than Manchester United. While anyone could be forgiven for losing to one of Europe's top club sides, if they wish to win the Premier League title, Arsenal must be able to beat their nearest rivals.

    More than just having lost these games, it has led to the club being labelled as "chokers" by many fans, and if they can't stand the pressure at the end of the Premier League season either, then they'll have practically handed Manchester United the title.

Wayne Rooney

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    Wayne Rooney is slowly (very slowly) coming back to form. After almost a year of poor form, it looks as though Rooney may slowly be making in roads back to the sort of play that saw him labelled as one of the world's best players last season.

    Maybe it's come too late, or maybe it's come just at the right time. Whichever it is, Rooney's form between now and the end of the season will be vital if United want to take the Premier League title and equal Liverpool's all time League wins record.

    He's at the age now when his maturity should begin to shine through in these situations, and this is by no means the first time he's had this sort of pressure put on him.

Javier Hernandez

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    The young Mexican wasn't too well known when Ferguson signed him last summer. In fact most people had only heard of him thanks to some strong performances at the World Cup.

    Since then however, Hernandez has made himself a key part of United's team, causing opposition problem after problem.

    His goal scoring record since joining the Red Devils is impressive to say the least. He has so far scored 14 goals in his 32 appearances for the club, with a lot of them coming as substitute appearances.

    It mirrors his international record as well, having scored 12 goals in 21 Mexico matches.

    If the youngster can keep scoring at the most important times for United, he could make the difference in the title race.

Sir Alex Ferguson

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    Love him or hate him (most people choose the latter), Sir Alex Ferguson has been taking a lot of attention from the press lately.

    In fact, so much so, that his team have taken little pressure and attention from the press (except perhaps Wayne Rooney).

    Despite his method of working and his, often childish, remarks to the press, he has managed to distract the pressure from his team time and time again this season.

    While United haven't been as impressive this year as they may have been in the past, Sir Alex has taught them to get their heads down and get the job done.

    With such an experienced manager at the helm, United have the advantage over their title rivals here.

Remaining Fixtures

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    Manchester United's remaining Premier League fixtures include: Bolton Wanderers, West Ham, Fulham, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Blackburn and Blackpool.

    Arsenal's remaining Premier League fixtures include: West Brom, Blackburn, Blackpool, Liverpool, Tottenham, Bolton, Manchester United, Stoke, Aston Villa and Fulham.

    While their are a lot of the same fixtures there, Arsenal still have to face on-form Liverpool and rivals Tottenham. Manchester United have to face Chelsea, and beyond that Arsenal should be the only major team to cause the Red Devils worry.

Arsenal vs United Crunch Game

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    Arsenal have one big chance coming up this season to overturn United at the top of the Premier League table.

    The match at the Emirates will no doubt be the biggest match of the Premier League season and could well end up as a title decider.

    While Arsenal will go into the match full of confidence, United have already beaten their London rivals this season, most recently in the FA Cup, and they will look to go about doing the same again.

    If any team is going to go into the game favourites, it looks to be Manchester United at the moment.

Goal Difference

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    The title race has gotten very close since United started losing and if Arsenal win their game in hand, then they could be equal on points with Manchester United.

    The goal difference is also quite close, although Manchester United hold the lead on that thanks to a number of big wins throughout the season.

    Currently the club have a goal difference of plus-33 while Arsenal have a goal difference of plus-30. This means that Arsenal must win their game in hand 4-0 to overtake United at the top of the table.

    While Arsenal may have been able to win enough games recently to close the gap, they have not been able to win them significantly enough.

    If Berbatov is on fire for another match this season and ends up with another hat trick, or if Rooney finds his best form again, then the goal difference could massively swing in United's favour.

Reasons United Might Not Win the Title

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    1. Arsenal play the crunch game against Manchester United at home.

    2. Arsenal have nothing to lose, being behind Manchester United already.

    3. Manchester United are also still concentrating on the FA Cup and Champions League.

    4. Manchester City or Chelsea may be able to make a late charge under the radar.

    5. Injuries to key players like Rio Ferdinand could hurt the United camp.