The Andy Gray Column: Manchester United’s frail and flawed defence puts Premier League title out of reach

By Mancunian Matters staff ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to Mancunian Matters…

We saw both the best and the worst of Manchester United in their victory over Chelsea – both the talent that can help them win the league and the flaws that can help them lose it.

You can say what you want about the controversial circumstances of the winner, that’s another argument, but they showed they mean business in those first 25 minutes.

That said the same flaws which cost them the title are still there – they still look frail at the back and can get caught out of position too easily – so they are not favourites by any stretch of the imagination.

Alexander Buttner is a great example. He’s got bags of talent but he’s been caught out too often this year. Defensive frailty at a Sir Alex Ferguson side strikes me as strange but he hasn’t addressed this problem for a couple of seasons now.

I can’t see any of the top three dropping off in the league, I think it’s going to be a three-horse race for most of the season because none of them strike me as really being the absolute favourite at the moment.

It would take a dramatic loss of form for one of them to be out of the running because United, Chelsea and City have all been pretty solid.

I think City will be really happy with where they sit in the league though they will want their form to be a little better than it’s been because they’ve been patchy so far.

People are saying Roberto Mancini’s men are looking less formidable this season but they have four more points now than they did at this stage last year. It’s difficult one but they are definitely not playing their best, there is a lot more to come for that team without question.

When you’ve got a team where you can call on Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Samir Nasri, or any one of a number of players to win you a game it’s a fantastic attribute to have and one that will come up trumps for them as the season progresses.

I think it’s down to the fact Chelsea have started so well that has almost pushed City down the pecking order slightly, but only slightly.

When City get into their stride I think they’ll be hard to beat but so far we haven’t seen it. But when you look at their results they are winning matches and keeping pace with the top two.

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