Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has delivered a bold assessment of the Red Devils’ title chances, claiming they will not finish inside the top five following a horrible start to the season.
After finishing third in the Premier League last season, hopes were restored among the United faithful that they were heading back to their glory days under Erik ten Hag.
However, those dreams have been apparently shattered, with the Red Devils currently sitting 10th in the table after recording four victories in eight games.
United’s Champions League hopes are also in jeopardy after suffering consecutive defeats against Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, with Ten Hag incurring immense criticism amid the club’s worrying form.
Man United appeared to go further downhill against Brentford over the weekend before Scott McTominay saved their blushes by scoring two injury-time goals to propel them to a 2-1 win.
“I don’t think Manchester United will finish in the top five this season,” said Neville on his podcast with Sky Sports.
“I think they are way off it. And I’m surprised because seven or eight weeks ago, I had them third. But honestly, from what I see at the moment, I don’t think the goalkeeper is settled in. I think he should have saved the one yesterday so that is a problem.
“If your goalkeeper is not settled in and there is a bit of instability around that, it does create a big problem. I’ve had that at United. So United, not for me.”
Despite their poor head-to-head record and Bukayo Saka’s injury, the Gunners edged out the reigning champions 1-0 to move to second in the table, tied on points with leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Man City’s recent struggles became more evident as the defeat against Arsenal was their third in their last four games, following the setbacks against Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Gunners caved in during last season’s title race, with Man City ruthlessly brushing them aside on the run-in.
However, Neville believes they can get the job done if they keep their top players fit.
“They’re 100 percent better with Declan Rice in the middle of the pitch – without a shadow of a doubt,” Neville added. “They have to keep Rice fit.
The idea of not playing Gabriel Magalhaes at the start of the season was an experiment that won’t happen again.
“Those two centre-halves – Gabriel and William Saliba – were pivotal against City. They were outstanding playing against the best player in the world in that position [Erling Braut Haaland].
“To beat City, and give [injured] Bukayo Saka a three-week rest, that could be a really good thing.
“The two centre-backs and Rice are the most important players to keep fit. They won’t win the league without them.”
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