Sunday 1 May 2016

Reds prove the party poopers but it's small comfort

It was a hollow success. 

Stopping Leicester City winning the title at Old Trafford might have been satisfying in one way but United failed to get their own campaign finale in order.

You'd have thought it was a throwback to yesterday when United stormed into this game at a high tempo and took an early lead.

The stadium was rocking with excitement and anticipation as memories of the 'old' United came flooding back.

But reality soon kicked in and from a commanding position - again- United's traits began to seep back into our game.

The ability to take control and then push on in a match seems to have been lost.

Leicester gave Louis van Gaal's side a lesson in endeavour.

They should have been wobbling under the pressure of being so close to getting their hands on that trophy.

But nervous kittens they are not, however United are too often anxious felines.

Claudio Ranieri's side refused to buckle, refused to let the magnitude of the occasion overwhelm them and dug in to show why they will be deserving champions.

It was damning that the Reds didn't build on Anthony Martial's eighth minute opener, damning that they defended so poorly to allow Wes Morgan to muscle in and power home Leicester's leveller nine minutes later.

But as the rat race for the top four finds United wanting and once again unable to extend a winning run beyond four matches, it is even more damning when the comparisons are made to Leicester's fairytale season.

This time last season Van Gaal's side were comfortably safe in the coveted Champions League places.
The Foxes, meanwhile, were in the thick of a relegation battle.

The turnaround is, to be frank, embarrassing from a United perspective.

The Reds have won two fewer matches at this stage of last season, Leicester have won 13 more. 

United have scored 17 fewer than they had with three matches to go last May, in contrast the Foxes have netted 24 more.

United have seven points less that they did 12 months ago - Leicester 42 more.

In terms of progress, that's about as good as it gets as far as the East Midlands outfit are concerned.

From United's point of view they have gone backwards a little bit in the league and after the summer spending spree it is hugely disappointing.

Even allowing for a potentially never-to-be-repeated rise from relegation candidates to champions it is a change in fortunes that looks so bad on United.

Holding off an opposition title celebration on your own patch is small comfort.

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