In an unofficial mission that’s taken four months and 19 days to complete, Manchester United has finally moved out of 6th place in the Premier League table with a 3-1 win away to Middlesbrough. It only took José Mourinho’s men an 18-game unbeaten run to do so, too!
The Red Devils travelled to the Riverside in knowledge that a win would be all that was required of them to surpass Arsenal in 5th place, after the Gunners succumbed to a 3-1 defeat away to West Bromwich Albion in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Mourinho rang the changes against the relegation-bound outfit, currently without a manager, and raced to a 2-0 lead in the second half after a routine headed goal by Marouane Fellaini in the first period and Jesse Lingard’s long-range arrow into the top corner following the interval.
Man United were made to sweat for their goods, as Rudy Gestede’s late strike offered hope of a Middlesbrough revival, but a late howler from Victor Valdes paved way for Antonio Valencia to walk his way into the goal and propel the visitors up the table.
After an uninspired start to the season that compiled results such as a 3-1 loss to Watford at Vicarage Road and the 4-0 demolition at Stamford Bridge at the hands of Chelsea, United have had to grind their way into a position of greater power.
Along the way, the club’s renewed relationship with 6th place, week after week, had become a gimmick within the footballing world, even in their best form.
Today’s triumph sees them move forward in the table at last, whereas United fans across the globe will be glad to finally brush the joke off from their shoulder.
To make the occasion even sweeter for them, it’s bitter rivals Arsenal, currently in torrid form before a timely international break, who will now have to bear the flak.
Social media, as always, was awash with armoury to throw at the situation.
The plane enthusiasts are back at it. pic.twitter.com/Z9Pp9kJpug
— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) March 19, 2017
Huge congrats to Man. United, who are up to 5th in the Premier League table. pic.twitter.com/PmF8YhFR6p
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) March 19, 2017
When you've been making 6th place jokes about Man United and then realize you've dropped to 6th now.
— Mohamed ElNneny (@ElNnenyM) March 19, 2017
Attentions at Old Trafford will now undoubtedly switch to breaking into the top four, with United sitting just three points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, prior to their clash against Manchester City.
United’s remaining games do still see them take on the likes of Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton before the season’s conclusion, which could be the ideal way to move up the table, but one that’s evidently easier said than done.