Sometimes after a loss it can be hard to look for the positives. For Manchester United fans, this has been a season of doing just that. After suffering through several disappointing performances by their club, United fans have been forced to say over and over again, “Yeah but…”
“We could have given up against Chelsea, but we fought until the final whistle.
“We may have lost, but we nearly drew against City, even with only 10 men.”
“We didn’t get a point in the derby, but it was the best match we’ve played all year.”
In their last two matches, United drew against Chelsea FC on a last second goal from Robin van Persie and fell to the cross town rivals in Manchester Derby 1-0. United has earned one point from these two matches, yet even with the lack of positive results, the feeling around the United fanbase seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
After 10 matches this season, the Red Devils sit cramped into the middle of the table on only 13 points. Last season at the same point in the year, United had 17 points. So why so much positivity in the red part of Manchester?
It’s true, the loss against Manchester City in the derby could have been much worse. Chris Smalling got sent off in the 39th minute for the absolute stupidest pair of yellow cards I can remember seeing and United had to play the rest of the match with only 10 men.
There were two border-line fouls in the box which could have resulted in penalties for City. And if David de Gea was not playing like one of the best keepers in the league right now, a handful of other City shots may have found their way into the back of the net as well.
In the end, United only lost 1-0. So were there some positives to take out of a loss against their biggest rivals?
As I watched the derby I thought it was possibly the best match United played all year. Considering they started the match with Chris Smalling and the best hair in the league aka Marcos Rojo as the center backs but ended the match with Michael Carrick and Paddy McNair, United looked like a solid team.
The Red Devils may be in 10th place in the table, but they are currently only four points out of a top four Champions League position. I think the main difference between this season and last for United is that at this point last year, there was little to no hope for the club, whereas this season, even though they have four fewer points than last year, there seems to be hope in Manchester.
So why is there hope?
United are knee-deep, no wait, they are face-deep in injuries, especially on the back line. Currently injured players include Marcos Rojo, Rafael, Phil Jones, and Jonny Evans and those are only the defenders. The Red Devils had to start midfielder Antonio Valencia at right back because they had no one else to play the position.
United are also missing Radamel Falcao, Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard. It has been next to impossible for the once great Manchester United to get their groove back this season.
Again I ask, why is there hope?
I think it all comes down to potential.
Angel Di Maria has shown that he has the potential to be the best player in the Premier League. Robin van Persie showed us just two seasons ago that he has the potential to be the league’s top goal scorer. If United is ever able to get healthy and have all their key players contributing in the starting 11 and/or off the bench, there is potential for United to once again rise to the top of England.
Just not this year.