It is never a good idea to start mind games against Jose Mourinho.
But when Maurizio Sarri said Man United had the best team in the league player-by-player many people scoffed.
United are way down in eighth place but with the players at their disposal they really should be a lot higher.
Just imagine what could happen if Pep Guardiola was in charge at Old Trafford.
There is mounting pressure on Mourinho’s job and the comeback win against Newcastle was merely a band aid on a bursting dam, defeat against Chelsea today and the vultures will be circling again.
When you go down the United XI there is ridiculous talent and Sarri might have been on to something when he said they are the best team in the league.
Let’s start at the front.
On paper a front four of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Antony Martial should be one of the most dangerous attacking units in the world.
Behind them a three of Nemanja Matic, Fred/Juan Mata and Paul Pogba possesses all of the attributes you could want in a midfield trio.
There’s power, control and inventiveness with an equal balance of attacking and defensively minded players.
Under nearly any other elite manager these players would be playing eye-catching and forward-thinking football.
Even the back-four, so widely derided as the source of Untied’s problems this season, should be much more than the sum of their parts.
Luke Shaw is a blistering left-back and although Antonio Valencia is getting on a bit he is still solid on the right.
We come a little bit unstuck with the central partnerships but to be honest, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have both represented England and Eric Bailly and £40m signing Eric Lindelof should be offering so much more
Then there’s a world class goalkeeper in David De Gea, strength all round.
Compare that to Chelsea’s line-up and the only players that would realistically get into that United side are Eden Hazard, Marcos Alonso and possibly one of N’Golo Kante or Jorginho.
Spurs amount to far more than the sum of their parts under Mauricio Pochettino but Harry Kane apart it is only the defence that Mourinho would be looking at with jealousy.
As for Arsenal, they are still a work in progress under Unai Emery and you would be hard pressed to find someone saying they have a better team than the Red Devils.
Then we come to United’s rivals City.
Pep has crafted one the most brilliant and aesthetically pleasing teams in Europe.
But in their last eight meetings City have only beaten United twice.
It goes without saying that they were far better last season but it’s clear United have a formidable squad.
So what’s the problem?
I think we can all agree there is one common denominator – Mourinho.
The so-called Special One has sucked all the fun out of watching these players and would much rather see them put in efficient winning displays than any kind of entertaining football.
So while Sarri might have had a point in calling them the best team in the league, we still think he was trying to wind his fellow manager up.
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