Sam Allardyce has spoken of how Manchester United are under threat of genuinely being in a relegation battle this season.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United extended the club’s winless run on the road to 11 games and left United two points above the relegation zone.
It means that a heavy defeat to Liverpool on October 20 could culminate in United being in the relegation zone after 10 fixtures.
Citing the United team which was relegated in 1974, Allardyce told talkSPORT that this current team could face the same fate.
“They went down with a terrific team on paper,” he said. “So it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they could catastrophically fall into more problems if confidence goes and injuries stay like they are.”
“Players tend not to get as fit as quick as they would do when things are going well, that’s an absolute fact. There’s the disturbance of [Paul] Pogba wanting away and who will pop up next saying, ‘I see this going the wrong way, I want to leave’?
“Manchester United do not have enough goals and you can see it becoming a struggle. Hopefully it’s not a struggle down the bottom end, but they’re certainly heading that way.
“Ole’s got a big job, I know they say it’s a rebuilding time and it is a rebuilding time, but you can’t get rid of your best goalscorer in the squad and not replace him. That’s a huge problem. Where are they going to get the top striker that they want?”
In the last 16 games, United have amassed 17 points. Over a half-season period, that is relegation form.
It could happen. It does happen to big teams. River Plate, Leeds United, AC Milan. They all took the drop.
And moreover, ask yourselves this: what are the constitutive elements of a team doomed to relegation? The main thing, to me, is an inability to find the net. United at the moment are struggling to create chances, let alone score goals.
Secondly, do they look motivated? Do they look like, as Allardce might say, they’ve got the minerals? They do not.
I’m sort of warming to the idea of relegation, you know. Trips to Elland Road would return. More games. More goals. United could basically make every away game feel like a home fixture, but better. Maybe the Glazers would finally jump ship, taking Ed Woodward with them.