Title race over but the signs are promising

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Arsenal‘s failure to take three points at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime means the Premier League title remains Man United‘s for a third successive season, and gives them their record equalling 18th League Championship.

No Liverpool supporter in their right mind would have imagined 19 years ago when the Reds won their 18th title, that it would be possible for United to equal our record before we won it again.

But im not going to dwell on the last 19 years, we need to look at the present and the future.

Earlier this season I was slaughtered by some when I publicly criticised Rafa Benitez following the Wigan draw, despite me saying I wouldn’t want anything more than him to turn things around and go on to win us the title. Since then things have turned around; some mighty impressive victories over Real, United and Chelsea, and we finally started playing some good football.

People might point to the Arsenal draw as the night we lost the title, but that’s complete rubbish. 4-4 at home to Arsenal wasn’t a title-losing match. Nor was the Mancs’ continual late victories coming from behind against Villa, Spurs, Sunderland and Wigan. The title was lost when we drew to Stoke (twice), Wigan, Hull, West Ham, Fulham, Man City and lost at Middlesbrough.

A telling statistic in where the title was won and lost is pretty simple; Liverpool have drawn 7 at home, while United have drawn 2. Apart from that head-to-head we’re pretty even. If only 2 of them draws had been turned into wins, and therefore given us four more points, the title race would be going to the final day at least.

The positives are, we’re on course for our highest ever points total in the Premier League (previous best 82 points, currently on 80). Potentially we can end the season on 86 points, which would have been enough to win the title in 2000-01 and 2002-03.

The further positive is that we are achieving this having not had two of the top five players in World football today at our disposal for over half our games this season.

Last summer we made some excellent additions off the pitch, with the arrival of Sammy Lee and Mauricio Pellegrino seemingly improving the coaching staff. Our signings on the pitch haven’t been so successful; only Riera can be described as somewhat of a success.

The right additions to the playing staff this summer, with hopefully no distractions off the pitch, and we’ll be even closer again next season.

Admittedly, last summer I thought somewhat similarly and was surprised by the signing of Robbie Keane after the way Torres and Gerrard had finished the previous season in tandem. That’s why I hope we don’t sign another forward looking to pair him up with Torres; we have the best front two in World football, why break it up? Especially when we have such a blend in midfield with Mascherano and Alonso behind them.

I’d love to see a quality arrival to supplement Gerrard and Kuyt behind Torres, yes David Silva would fit the bill perfectly in my opinion.

I’d also like to see a decent forward as back-up for Torres, someone who can provide an option, isn’t necessarily happy to sit on the bench but still would get plenty of games. I’d also like to see a right back arrive, Glenn Johnson would be ideal there. No disrespect to Arbeloa but the two weakest positions in our team at present are left wing and right back. I’m a massive fan of Insua and he and Aurelio are good enough for the left back spot, with Arbeloa also capable of covering there.

Hopefully we’ll see the season end on a high still, two wins would be one hell of an end to the season, hopefully the goalscorer on the final day against Spurs will be Big Sami at the Kop end.

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