Date: 25th August 2008 at 8:56am
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Our esteemed member Man Utd champions believes that United have one hell of a task to keep their title hopes alive. Is this Pompey game really that important?

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that United are already facing a pivotal game in their battle to retain the Premier League title, with the trip to Portsmouth’s Fratton Park vital if United are to stay in touch with their rivals. After the disappointing draw against Newcastle, even this early on, United simply cannot afford to lose.

Last season also started slowly, but this season, United miss the Fulham game due to playing in the Super Cup. Therefore, anything less than a win at Fratton Park could leave United seven or eight points behind their rivals before they go to Anfield. And with the Chelsea game away to come after that, it simply doesn’t get any easier.

Psychologically, even knowing we had a game in hand, going to Stamford Bridge that far behind would give Chelsea a massive advantage. And if we thought we’d have an easy game, after the disappointing display in the 4-0 thrashing by Chelsea, Portsmouth are going to be keen to make amends as
well.

If United can get through this game unscathed, then their Title hopes are back on. Lose, and United could be facing the possibility of being virtually out of the race by the middle of September. After all, with a side hit by injury, six points at Anfield and Stamford Bridge is simply
asking too much.

True, we have a good record against Liverpool in recent times, but trips to Anfield are never easy. A point there may not be considered by some to be a good result, but unless things start to look up, that might be the best we can hope for. And as for Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea are
unbeaten in however many games, United face a tough task to come away from there with anything, let alone all three points.

With so many injuries, and our strike force really struggling, one can only hope that the return of Tevez, coupled with the addition of a new striker helps United back to scoring regularly. We’ll come good,
eventually, but the worry is, will it be too late then?

But it’s not all doom and gloom: we are United, and we will survive. Most of our injured players should be back soon; the team that won the Double just three months ago (however long it may seem) are still intact, and if United manage to sign a striker, that can only help Rooney and Tevez.

Chelsea fans may be happy at the moment, but as we said last season, the Premier League is a marathon not a sprint. The trophies are handed out in May, not August. And when they are, who’s to say it won’t be United who are celebrating?