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Are Manchester United title challengers?

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nyone associated with Manchester United knows that their club should be fighting for the title nearly every season, a club with winning and trophies so firmly embedded in its DNA, that a season with no silverware is nearly always considered a failure.

United haven’t won any major competitions since 2013 and Sir Alex Ferguson, and with Louis Van Gaal being the 2nd manager since Fergie, it’s fair to say that many Mancunians are impetious for silverware. This begs the question, what are their chances of winning the big prize this season, the prize every English team craves?

United and LVG’s start to the season has looked promising in places, putting in consistent performances by winning six, drawing one and losing two.

The signing of Anthony Martial has proved successful with the youngster adapting remarkably well to the Premier League, scoring four in three appearances as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin beginning to show signs of a really formidable midfield partnership.

United have also managed to keep hold of David De Gea, a huge player for them last season, and his extended presence at Old Trafford must surely feel like a new signing to United fans, given the amount of speculation of him joining Real Madrid in the summer.

Juan Mata has been putting in quality performances nearly every game, staking his claim to being one of the best creative midfielders in the league.

The quality of Ander Herrera is again shining through, in a team which doesn’t appear to have much room for him, he is definitely staking his claim in a clearly improving United side. Even Memphis Depay hasn’t been that bad statistically, scoring three and showing occasional signs of why so much money was invested in him.

Wayne Rooney on the other hand has disappointed and frustrated most United fans, contributing only two goals in 720 minutes of football, yet he is still invariably picked week in, week out – leading many fans to question why Van Gaal continues to play him despite his frequent poor performances.

If analysing their title chances though, their competition would first have to be compare as well. United’s biggest rivals come in the form of their closest neighbours – Manchester City. Whilst people will point to negative results against Spurs and West Ham, it’s fair to say that overall City have been very impressive in the League, scoring 11 in their last two games.

Sterling looks an excellent buy, Agüero was in red-hot form until his injury on international duty, and Pellegrini looks to have returned the Citizens to their mesmerising best.

This is without mentioning Arsenal who have quietly had the same results as United, and with Sanchez’s return to form, the North Londoners also look like they will be a major force in the league this season.

With two sides much improved since last season, United’s title test has been made all the harder, however one positive of the latest campaign, in the eyes of Mancunians anyway, has been the torrid form of Chelsea who find themselves currently at 12th, ten points behind City.

Whilst this will be an extremely challenging campaign for Manchester United if they want to win the league, it’s fair to say that they have the ability as a squad to go all the way to the top.

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