Every side that has led the English Premier League at the end of January have gone on to win the title in each of the last ten seasons. That augurs well for Manchester United who have a nine point lead at the top of the table with one third of the current campaign remaining before the championship is decided.
United have won the English title 19 times and 12 during the Alex Ferguson era. When he became the club’s manager in 1986 his stated aim was to knock Liverpool off its perch. That club dominated English football in the 1970s and 1980s but Ferguson achieved his target when United won their 19th title two seasons ago to go one ahead of Liverpool in the history of the English championship.
In the 1998-99 season United became the first and so far only club in win the Championship, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season. That side had four forwards who all made valuable contributions to the teams’ cause. Ferguson believes the current forwards at his disposal are even better than the 1998-99 vintage.
Robin van Persie looks on course to be named Footballer of the Year and Wayne Rooney (pictured) has now scored 10 goals or more in the last ten seasons playing for United. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez provide effective back up if players have to be rotated as the key fixtures accumulate over the latter stages of the season.
United were done a huge favor by their fiercest rivals, Liverpool, over the weekend. Ferguson’s side won away to Fulham thanks to a second half goal by Rooney which meant they led by 10 points ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Manchester City on Sunday. Liverpool had one of their best results under Brendan Rodgers in drawing 2-2 away to City.
United have a huge tie against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League with the first leg taking place at the end of February and the return two weeks later. If any manager can prepare a side for a demanding run of fixtures in a short space of time it is Ferguson and his squad now have the forwards to emulate the class of 1998-99.