Man United must make the hard call and drop David de Gea

John Horgan previews the weekend action and gives his Premier League top-four prediction
Man United must make the hard call and drop David de Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea warming up before a Premier League match at Old Trafford. 

IN every Premier League season there are days that define the eventual destination of the title.

Last Sunday was surely one of them, make that last weekend when Manchester United’s fragility in defence allied to poor goalkeeping cost them two precious points against Everton.

Fast forward 24 hours and it was a similar story at Anfield, goalkeeping blunders by Alisson costing Liverpool dearly in their make or break encounter with Manchester City.

Leicester failed to penetrate the Wolves defence and dropped more vital points and what it all meant was that Manchester City have now all but inscribed their name on the trophy again.

Of course, it’s never over until one team is four points clear with just one game to go and in a season like we have never had before in the Premiership, you can rule nothing in and nothing out.

But Manchester City are in the clear now, well clear of the chasing pack and it would take a slip-up of massive proportions to deny them the title once more.

What once looked like being the most open title race for years is now all but closed.

Right now City are a country mile ahead of the rest and that’s without Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, two of the best imports English football has ever had.

City were helped by two calamitous errors from the normally ultra-reliable Alisson and only God knows what he was up to with the concession of those two scores.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Jon Super/PA Wire.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and manager Jurgen Klopp. Picture: Jon Super/PA Wire.

It certainly was a bad weekend for two of the best ‘keepers in the Premiership although maybe David De Gea probably cannot any longer be included in that category.

He has simply made too many mistakes that have proved very costly for United in the past year and the time is now surely right to give Dean Henderson the opportunity to heap the pressure on him.

Play the Englishman tomorrow against West Brom and subsequently proceed to give him a run of games in the number one shirt.

Liverpool are struggling in their bid to retain the title and Roy Keane certainly did not spare them in his analysis on Sunday.

The perception now is that Liverpool are in a battle for a Champions League spot next season and their poor form has to be a major worry.

But a top-class side does not become a bad one overnight and one believes that they will get themselves back on track to ensure there is Champions League football at Anfield next season.

And one must remember that they are still in this season’s competition and could easily end up winning it again.

City’s two best players this season have been Ilkay Gundogan and young Phil Foden, one of the most exciting Englisman playing football right now.

Gundogan took an awful penalty last Sunday, made a complete hames of it but had the mental resolve to recover to score two fine goals.

Foden’s goal was a delightful effort for a City side now playing with the confidence that will take them to another title.

Manchester City's Phil Foden scores at Anfield. Picture: Jon Super/PA Wire.
Manchester City's Phil Foden scores at Anfield. Picture: Jon Super/PA Wire.

United’s draw with Everton felt like a defeat for those in their corner and here’s one of them.

Losing a two-goal advantage at home and subsequently giving away an equaliser in the 95th minute was an absolute sickener.

They did recover to get past West Ham in the FA Cup on Tuesday night and that is surely their only chance of landing a trophy for Solskjaer. Given the pedigree of some of the teams in the Europa League, here’s one who would not be looking towards that competition to put silverware on the table.

Solskjaer said afterwards that United should not have been considered title contenders.

Why not? He has been in charge now for a couple of seasons and assembled a squad worth £600m.

Jamie Redknapp was quite correct in saying that United were not going to get a better chance.

“This United team should be believing. This is the year that anything is possible, they are not kids are they."

TOP FOUR

Well, it looks like that chance has passed them by now and unless Spurs can win against City today, this title race is over. But the battle for Champions League places will be fascinating, Chelse now just a point behind Liverpool are firmly back in the equation.

Spurs have Harry Kane back and that will make a huge difference and Jamie Vardy is back for Leicester.

One expects Liverpool to be okay in their quest for a top-four spot alongside Man City but after that, who knows.

United should be alright but recent results have not been what they should have been.

Here’s my top four: Man City, Liverpool, United and Chelsea.

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