Despite finishing second in the Premier League last season, it quickly became clear that Manchester United weren’t capable of challenging for the title this term and their 10th position accurately reflects the quality of their performances as they prepare to face Newcastle on Saturday.
The soap opera at Old Trafford has made for fascinating viewing this season, with Jose Mourinho seemingly at loggerheads with Ed Woodward, the vice chairman of Manchester United who wasn’t too willing to splash out on new players last summer.
We’re getting to the stage where defeat in this game might force the club’s hand as far as Mourinho’s position is concerned although United are no bigger than BetVictor’s 1/2 to land a maximum haul against a Newcastle side who are on a miserable run of their own.
The Magpies might feel this is a good time to be visiting Old Trafford, especially considering their opponents had a Champions League engagement with Valencia on Tuesday, with William Hill offering 6/1 that their supporters are left celebrating a famous win come the final whistle.
Rafael Benitez will be aware that the pressure will be on United, with Unibet among those bookmakers trading 4/5 that Mourinho wins the infamous Sack Race and many onlookers will now be glad when the former great is put out of his misery.
Mourinho has chopped and changed the squad all season although Romelu Lukaku remains the preferred option in attack and the flat-track bully is 31/10 with BetVictor to open the scoring against a team who have just two points from their opening seven matches.
Perhaps Alexis Sanchez will be brought in from the cold and the Chilean is a 5/1 poke with William Hill to score first, although you wouldn’t be super-confident about United keeping a clean sheet.
The defence has shipped three goals against Brighton, Tottenham and West Ham already this season and there could be some merit in backing both teams to score at 11/10 with Betfair as Newcastle go in search of that elusive win which would potentially lift them out of the drop zone.
In fairness to the Tyneside club, they have been handed some difficult fixtures with which to open the season and Benitez is remaining philosophical while trying to deal with an owner who would be clearly happy to sell up.
The draw is a 7/2 chance with Betfair and that would please the visitors ahead of a potentially easier run of games, with Newcastle having previously run Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea close before being narrowly defeated.
Manchester United were only capable of drawing their previous home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and there was the same outcome against Derby County in the EFL Cup before the Rams went through on spot kicks.
Bet365 chalk up 8/1 about the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, with this result likely to see the board look to take decisive action - there has been strong talk regarding Zinedine Zidane and the possibility of the former Real Madrid manager taking charge at the club.
And if you have to back United:
It remains to be seen whether Mourinho has any chance of galvanising this squad anymore, although if you have to back United then the 13/10 (BetVictor) about them leading at half-time and full-time looks to be the way forward.