In the final nine games of the 2012-13 season, Manchester United are in line to make the history books—in more ways than one.
With a 15-point advantage over defending champion Manchester City, only a capitulation of unfathomable proportions would prevent the Red Devils from securing their 13th Premier League trophy and 20th English league title.
Man Utd will have won the majority of the Premiership's title races and, most importantly for fans, they will have earned two more league wins than arch-nemesis Liverpool. It looks like it could be many years before the Anfield side catch up.
This season could also bring Sir Alex Ferguson's 13th league title, further cementing his status as the most successful manager in British history. In fact, if Man Utd win the FA Cup on May 11th, the league title would be his 50th trophy earned as a manager (and of course, his side may have already won the league by the time FA Cup weekend rolls by).
Yet there is one more record to be broken this season: the Premier League points tally for a single season.
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea set the benchmark at 95 points in 2004-05, with a record of 29-8-1. In that triumphant campaign, the Blues also set records for the fewest goals conceded (15), most clean sheets (25) and most wins.
The ship has sailed on toppling the clean sheets and goals conceded records, but Utd could feasibly get more wins and more points than Mourinho's Special Ones. And this is what Sir Alex Ferguson is aiming for.
Manchester Utd need seven wins from their last nine games to equal Chelsea's win tally. With 74 league points at present, Fergie's charges need seven wins and a draw to better the Blues' 95-point tally.
If they win all their remaining games, they will finish with 101 points. Significantly, this will beat the record-breaking 100-point tally achieved by Real Madrid in the 2011-12 La Liga. (After their undignified Champions League exit to Los Blancos, Sir Alex will no doubt savor the prospect of beating Mou's Spanish record, too!)
If results against the remaining nine opponents mirror those of the corresponding fixtures earlier in the season, there is good news for Manchester Utd: They would achieve eight wins and a draw. Only Swansea were able to deny Utd victory at the Liberty Stadium, but in nine visits to Old Trafford since 1931, the Welsh side have never beaten Utd and were comfortably defeated on their last six trips.
Other home matches on the fixture list are against Manchester City (who have only won one of their last five trips to Old Trafford and have lost two of their last three away games), Aston Villa (who have only won once in their last six league away games and have conceded 10 goals in their last three trips to Old Trafford) and Chelsea (who have lost three and drawn one of their last four trips to the Theatre of Dreams).
In terms of away matches, Rooney and Co. will visit Sunderland next (who haven't beaten Utd at home in the league since March 1997 and have the worst current form in the league), Stoke (who have won one of their last six games and last beat Man Utd at home in the league in December 1984), West Ham (who last beat Manchester Utd at Upton Park on a chilly Saturday in December 2007), Arsenal (who actually have a reasonable home record against Utd, winning five of their last 10 visits) and in the final days of the season, West Brom (who have lost all eight of Utd's last eight visits, dating back to 1984).
So, Manchester Utd can only afford one loss and a draw if they are to beat the points tally record. On the basis of the statistics, it seems that the most likely places to drop points are on the road to Arsenal and perhaps at home to Manchester City.
Ferguson told American radio station SiriusXM FC (via The Guardian) this week that he expects his side to drop some points before the season is over, but a record points tally is definitely an achievable target.
As for achieving maximum points in the final nine games? Real Madrid could only manage eight wins and a draw in their triumphant final run-in of 2011-12. If Fergie betters that, he will have something else to brag about over his next bottle of wine with The Special One...
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