Football news – Jose Mourinho in trouble if Manchester United lose to Arsenal or Liverpool?
Manchester United face Arsenal on Wednesday and Liverpool next Sunday. Will the outcome of these matches decide Jose Mourinho’s future?
Winless in three Premier League games, United host Arsenal and Fulham before travelling to Liverpool - after a match at Valencia- in the coming fortnight.
It is set to be a make or break two weeks for Mourinho – but will that actually be the case?
Jose MourinhoGetty Images
United suffered back-to-back league defeats against Brighton and Tottenham early in the season, and lost at West Ham days after Derby knocked them out of the League Cup in September.
A 3-1 loss to champions and rivals Manchester City followed in November, but key victories and moments have lifted United when Mourinho looked to be on the brink.
Last-minute heroics from Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford helped United to victories over Newcastle and Bournemouth, while the 2-1 comeback win at Juventus saw Mourinho back to his mischievous best.
But United have not kicked on since then, particularly in the league, and while the 2-2 draw at Southampton resulted in opposing manager Mark Hughes being given the boot, it has also left Mourinho as the next favourite to be sacked.
The stats outline Mourinho’s struggles so far this season.
After 14 Premier League games…
- This is the first season Manchester United have had a negative goal difference in the Premier League (-1)
- The tally of 22 points is equal to 2013/14 season under David Moyes, one more than Mourinho’s first season in 2016/17
- They have conceded 23 goals, the most since 2001/2 – also 23
- They have lost four matches – joint-worst for United in Premier League era along with 2013/14 and 2001/02
It is not clear what it will actually take for United’s hierarchy to decide Mourinho must go. The club are already 16 points behind leaders City, and eight off a top-four spot.
Mourinho backtracked on his comments that United needed a “miracle” to finish in the Champions League places, but he hardly sounded confident in his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s clash against Arsenal, who are on a high after a 4-2 victory over Tottenham on Sunday.
"I can agree Manchester United should never be in seventh, in spite of the phenomenal investment Everton made and obviously the great improvement in their team from last season," said Mourinho.
"But I don't think Everton is going to be in front of Manchester United by the end of the season. I think clearly everybody knows that there are six teams that should all of them stay in the first six positions.
" Everyone knows that two of these teams are staying outside the top four, last season it was Arsenal and Chelsea and this season two of the six are going to stay outside of the top four."
"Who is the best team of the six? Who is the team with the most potential? Who is the team with the least potential? Who is the team that is performing better? Who is not performing so well?
"I think we will be around the questions and the answers, but I think in the end of the season top six will be done by the six we all know to have the responsibility to finish in the top six."
The bare facts of United post-Sir Alex Ferguson tells you they have finished outside of the top four in three of the five seasons since their greatest manager left Old Trafford.
It is becoming a norm for United, and may explain why United are yet to pull the trigger this season. Their reluctance is also evident by the fact Moyes was not dismissed until April during his doomed campaign in charge.
Whether United remain as patient if they lose to Arsenal and Liverpool remains to be seen, but two defeats would result in their worst ever start to a Premier League season after 17 games, regardless of what happens against Fulham.
The ice is already thin, perhaps it will crack just in time for Christmas...