Mikael Silvestre predicts a shock three-way Premier League title race
As we approach the halfway stage of the season, the Premier League table is shaping up nicely with a potential title race on our hands. But who will finish the campaign top of the table?
A player who knows a thing or two about winning trophies is Mikael Silvestre. The former Manchester United defender boasts four Premier League winner’s medals and has had his say on how this season could finish.
Ahead of his Liverpool v Manchester United Ladbrokes 5-A-Side selection, we spoke with the ex-France international…
“For me there are only three teams in this year’s title race: Man United, Liverpool, and I’m going to put Leicester in there as well.
“It’s a wide-open season and it’s good for Man United to be in the race instead of playing catch-up and looking on from a distance. Now it’s just a case of staying up there. They’re in a very positive position at this point in the campaign.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“The great thing is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t changed anything in recent weeks. From United’s poor run to where they are now, he’s stuck to his plans and his ideas.
“Solskjaer didn’t have to change anything; it was more that the players had to respond to what he was asking them to do.
“United had a fantastic run at the back end of last season, then they managed to bring in some names where the club identified weaknesses and clearly they’re now back on track. Ole just wanted that consistency and it looks like it’s back now.
“When you know the man [Solskjaer], you know he has values and that’s why he was given the job; he reflects what United is about. As a United player you need to ignore the noise in the media – as a manager even more so. The staff are all united and behind the manager.
“There’s enough quality in there to challenge for the title. But football is a funny game; you can’t afford to relax because you’ll slip down one or two more places in the table. You need to stay focussed.”
The season so far
“I wouldn’t have predicted Man United to be at the top of the table in January back at the start of the season, but that’s the beauty of the game. They’ve taken advantage of other teams’ misfortunes. It’s why the Premier League in general is so interesting. It’s great to see United in that position; I’d call it a very good surprise.
“Is it a blessing in disguise that they’re not in the Champions League? I’m not sure; you still have to play Europa League football – I’m not a big fan of the Thursday/Sunday fixtures.
“I don’t think it favours a team in the title race. Not because you’re lacking recovery time, but it never feels like you have a day off. When your day off is on a Monday, everyone is back at work, kids are back at school and you don’t have that mental break. Physically you have the break, but I do think it’s a disadvantage.
“I don’t think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to necessarily weaken his team for the Europa League games, it’s all just about rotation. The main guys probably won’t be involved in all of the games in Europe but the spine of the side should stay the same; just rotate the rest of the players.
“Fingers crossed the injury list will stay thin for United, and then they’ve got all the privilege of being able to field a strong side in both competitions.”