You can't write off Manchester United now

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

TEN matches remaining and there is a familiar look about the top of the Premier League. Manchester United are there – again.

Despite a common belief, shared by me for one, that this is the worst United team for years, Sir Alex Ferguson has led his players back to the pinnacle of the top-flight by mid-March.

Suddenly the pain of United's 6-1 drubbing to their Manchester rivals City can be eased for those with a soft spot for Old Trafford.

Forget all the exuberance that City showed that afternoon when they effectively became champions-elect in many eyes, Manchester United have shown once more they possess all the qualities required for a title fight.

The £1bn project of Sheikh Mansour could still end in a Premier League title come May, but very few of those who had written off the Red Devils' chances a few months ago will be feeling the same now.

Ferguson, smarting from an early Champions League exit, has overseen a remarkable run in the last seven weeks, where he has successfully navigated his players through tough fixtures with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham – to wrestle top spot from City once more.

The blue half of Manchester may have boasted the likes of Sergio Aguero, Adam Johnson, Edin Dzeko and James Milner among their substitutes on Sunday, but an inability to avoid defeat at a productive Swansea is hardly the stuff of champions.

By the time Roberto Mancini leads his players in to a challenging fixture with Chelsea on Wednesday week, Manchester United will be four points clear if they can win at crisis club Wolves on Sunday.

You'd be a fool to dismiss Manchester United's chances now.

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