Can victory over City kickstart Manchester United’s top-four surge?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United roared into life in the Premier League producing back-to-back wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in a vital week for the club. There was a huge amount of pressure growing on the Norwegian amid United’s underwhelming start to the campaign.
The availability of Mauricio Pochettino following his sacking by Spurs presented the Red Devils with a quality option that has long been linked to the post at Old Trafford to replace Solskjaer in the dugout had their issues persisted. However, United put forward two resilient performances with moments of brilliance to kickstart their surge for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

It would be a good time to monitor their match stats and odds at Betzcenter week by week, as they try to qualify for the Champions League during this watershed moment for the Red Devils to surge up the table. They’re within striking distance of Chelsea in the final spot after their wobble, while even their rivals City are not too far ahead after they slumped to their fourth defeat of the campaign. It will all hinge on their ability to kick on, and although their performances proved that United are capable of beating anyone in the Premier League – they have to be able to develop a killer instinct against the sides down the table.

Solskjaer’s men could well have produced a five-match winning streak in the Premier League had they developed that cutting edge. They displayed resolve to come from 2-0 down to lead Sheffield United 3-2 at Bramall Lane, but were unable to see out the three points, conceding a late goal to Oliver McBurnie. It was the same story against Villa, bouncing back after falling behind to a Jack Grealish strike. A comeback drove them into the lead on home soil, but once again they were unable to hold their advantage as Tyrone Mings equalised almost immediately for the Villans.

The difference between success and failure was minute and it cost United four points – which would have had them breathing down the necks of Chelsea. As a result, there is still a huge amount of work ahead for Solskjaer and his team to sustain their momentum to challenge for a place in the top four.

Encouragingly for the club – they’ve began to find their form in front of goal, which was a huge problem in the early stages of the season. Marcus Rashford has scored in four out of his last five matches at the time of writing, taking his tally for the term to 10 goals in the Premier League –matching his career-high set in the last campaign. The 22-year-old cannot do it alone and the result against City was pleasing for the red half of Manchester as Anthony Martial flashed his undoubted potential alongside his team-mate in the final third. The Frenchman has had injury problems this term, but if they are able to keep him fit – there’s scope there for a potent strikeforce to cause headaches for every defence in the Premier League.

There are still issues to address. United are still ropey at the back as highlighted by conceding three to Sheffield United and two to Aston Villa at home. They’ve only kept two clean sheets this season, despite a significant investment in their backline over the summer to sign Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. That needs to be the next port of call for Solskjaer, but at least there is an air of positivity that patience is beginning to yield results for the Red Devils.