The Premier League Title Is Slipping Away From Manchester United

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer INovember 8, 2008

After a typically poor start to the season for Manchester United, they recently looked to be getting back on track, with a series of games unbeaten.

But Sir Alex Ferguson is too experienced not to notice a trend so far this season: United can't beat the big boys.

Last season, Man Utd were English and European Champions, and deservedly so. They had results which leap out against big times, such as beating Liverpool 3-0.

But so far this season, despite looking very strong against the more mediocre sides in the league, the results, and performances, against the rest of the big four have been, quite frankly, poor.

They lost against Liverpool at Anfield, a result which reflected the way the game went. Then they came up against the team many expected to be the main rivals to their crown in Chelsea. They were, perhaps, unlucky to come out of this game with just the one point as Salomon Kalou got a late equaliser for Chelsea.

And today against Arsenal they lost again, and again, the result was justified. Arsenal played some beautiful football from beginning to end. No doubt those criticising them for doing that against Tottenham when it didn't work out will now be praising them for the way they play the game.

The result means that United have taken just one point from a possible nine against their fellow big teams, a record more familiar with Liverpool in previous seasons.

And many people have attributed Liverpool's constant underachieving to this factor—not winning the big games.

Now, with Liverpool performing well in the league, and already having taken six from a possible six in the big games, United need to win these types of games.

The same, I suppose, could be said for Chelsea, who have also only taken one point from the top of the table matches. But they are looking so strong in the other games that it may be a smaller problem, but still one they have to look at.

Arsenal have thrust themselves back into the title picture with the win today, and also showed that they can beat anyone on their day. In fact, I would say that all of the criticism that has dogged Arsene Wenger's side in the build up to this match were well and truly answered today.

With both Chelsea and Liverpool performing so well in the league so far, it is the head-to-head games that will win one team the title and that could well be Man Utd's downfall this season.