Manchester United’s 3-2 away victory over Southampton proves that they can challenge for the Premier League title, according to boss Louis Van Gaal.
United’s new £36 million striker Anthony Martial scored a brace, as they edged the three points at St. Mary’s.
Victory meant that United are now second in the table and just two points behind first place Manchester City, who were beaten 2-1 at home by West Ham United this weekend.
Van Gaal brazenly told the BBC: “We have made a statement that we shall compete for the title.”
“You cannot expect a title from a team in transition. But when we are close we shall grab it.”
United will be given a further boost in confidence knowing that they host bottom of the league Sunderland at Old Trafford next. However, United have an extremely difficult run of fixtures after that, as they travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal, then to Goodison to play Everton, before hosting Manchester City at home.
The Red Devils also play Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, amidst their domestic run of difficult fixtures. Van Gaal needs to win both of those games, to ensure that United don’t get eliminated after a disappointing opening 2-1 loss in the Champions League to PSV Eindhoven.
Van Gaal’s decision to claim that United could possibly win the league is very premature. Chelsea have a very favourable run of domestic fixtures and will undoubtedly be hot on the trail of United by November. City have an unbelievable amount of strength in depth and are the bookies favourite to win the league.
Also, Martial’s early season goal scoring form looks incredibly impressive so far, but even Van Gaal doesn’t know whether that will continue. Rooney hasn’t scored a league goal for United since April, so as the season drags on United’s lack of attacking options will surely lead to their downfall.
Nonetheless, Van Gaal is very clever in declaring that United have an intent to win the league. After closing the gap between City, the Dutchman knows that the pressure will be on Manuel Pellegrini’s side to kill United’s continual wave of points. If Van Gaal loses against City, the game will be very tight, very cautious and the media will report it as a blow. If Van Gaal’s United win against City, the media will explode into a frenzy of hype and help to rekindle the fear aspect of playing against United.