After almost 10 years in the doldrums, they are officially back in contention. On Saturday they beat Man City 2-1 at Old Trafford to send their long-suffering fans into ecstasy.
They certainly didn't deserve the win. City were comfortable for most of the game and took a one-nil lead. United's equaliser should not have stood. Rashford was offside and clearly interfering with play but, at the last minute, left the ball for the onside Fernandes to score. The linesman flagged but was overruled by the ref and this was not corrected by VAR. Even Ten Hag and United cheerleaders like Gary Neville admitted that it should never have stood, but there we are. It did stand. And then with their tails up they got a second. The win puts them one point behind City in fourth place and a whopping 10 points ahead of Liverpool. More worrying for Liverpool is that there is now a gap opening between the UCL places and the rest. If Liverpool don't secure Champions League footy next season, this will impact their ability to renovate the team.
Seeing a rejuvenated United back in contention leaves me rather conflicted. Having lived in Spain and knowing La Liga so well, I have to admit that the greatest desire is that the EPL remains as competitive as always. La Liga is a league set up for two teams to dominate and two teams only. The overriding point of La Liga is that El Clasico is the biggest club game in world football. In this millennium Liverpool, City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester have all won the EPL, while Spurs came within a few points. This level of competition is missing from La Liga and indeed all the big European leagues. I have friends who are fans of teams like Osasuna and Real Betis, and they know that a serious punt at the title is never going to happen. In England, City have now won 4 of the last 5, and while it hurts to see City lose, it will be great for the league if Toon, Arsenal or even United could win it this season.
That said, it has been fantastic for City and Liverpool fans to watch United flounder over the last decade. I never in my wildest dreams thought they would fall so far for so long. At least we have great memories from these years. Singing "park the bus, park the bus Man United" during the Mourinho years as United suffered the ignominy of have to shut up shop in Old Trafford against their two biggest rivals. And singing "Ole's at the wheel" during the Ole years, taunting the enemy with their own chant was exquisite.
But alas, those days are over, for better or for worse United are back in a title race.