The two Manchester clubs may be just six points apart in the table, but things appear vastly different on the red and blue sides of the city.
For Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City, they sit just three points off the top of the table and have weathered injuries to key players as best as most fans could have asked. For Pellegrini, he believes the club is in prime position to make a play for the top spot, even if they have not performed up to the normal standards of the club at times.
“Yes of course we are in a good position,” Pellegrini said. “Of course the best position is to be at the top of the table, but I think this season is special in the Premier League. The amount of points we have in this moment is not good to try and fight for the title in a normal season, when you need 56, 55, 53 points to be in front. But now just three points behind the leaders I think that’s an expected position, and I think we will compete with a very good second part of the season.”
Pellegrini seems to be onto something. The 39 points for Arsenal and Leicester City atop the Premier League table is the second-lowest in Premier League history at the turn of the new year, behind the 38 for Manchester United in the 2010/11 season.
Unfortunately for United, with just 30 points, they are nine off the top even in this crazy season. Much of that had to do with their poor December, which saw the club pick up just two points and fail to win a single match, also falling out of the Champions League.
Louis Van Gaal, who has come under fire recently and has been asked multiple questions about his job security, believes things are still positive for Manchester United, so long as you forget about this past month.
“When you don’t assess December, it was a very good year, but of course you can’t do that,” Van Gaal said. He went on to assess the entire time he has taken charge of the club, likely in order to remind people while many begin to look elsewhere for a new boss.
“We have fulfilled the wish and our aim in the first season that ended halfway through 2015. After that we have managed to give balance to the team and that resulted in October and November in us being first in the Premier League. Then we are out of the Champions League and that gives us a big blow, and we are still in that period.”