The struggle has been real for Manchester United this season. With one match separating Barclays Premier League clubs from the midway point of the season, they are on 31 points, good for seventh place and five points behind fourth place Liverpool for a UEFA Champions League spot. It's been so bad for the Red Devils that oddsmakers have them as underdogs to make the top four.
Bovada has United at -155 to fail to finish in the top four and +120 to get there. This speaks to what a disappointing season it's been for Manchester's new noisy neighbours, who came into Boxing Day's matches in eighth place, passing Tottenham on goal differential. Tottenham, for what it's worth, have a negative goal differential and have fired manager Andre Villas-Boas, yet they still have the same number of points as United. This is a far cry from the form achieved by United last year, when they won the Prem with over a month to go.
What's most shocking about United's failure to be a threat this season is their awful form at home. They are tenth best in the Premier League with 14 points on their own ground. The top four teams in the league, meanwhile, are one through four in that category (City - 27, Chelsea - 25, Liverpool - 24, Arsenal - 20).
It wouldn't be entirely surprising to see United make up the difference and play in the Champions League yet again next season. After all, they are third in the league in points earned away from home, notching 17 of their 31 points away from Old Trafford. But with Arsenal playing the most beautiful game in the Prem, Manchester City scoring in American football increments at the Etihad, Chelsea a force as usual, and Liverpool riding player of the year favorite Luis Suarez, they are going to have to pick things up at home in a hurry.