Well, we’re about a third of the way through the season, with 10 points from twelve games. On the face of it that sounds a little bleak, but there are some positives.
We have cost ourselves points, most recently against Hibs with a last minute own-goal costing us two points.
So what are the positives? Well, a few games ago we had the worst goal difference in the SPL, including the lowest amount of goals scored. This is no longer the case, with three teams, Killie, Aberdeen and Partick, suffering more in the goals department than ourselves, and all four including ourselves on nine goals scored in total.
Since the opening four fixtures when we lost all four games we have played eight, and only lost two (Pars and Motherwell), winning two and drawing the other four. In short, losing two from eight ain’t all bad, especially since five of those games were away from home.
Which brings me nicely into analysing the home form. It’s more than 250 days since we won a home league game, not something I want to remind anyone about, but true none the less. In fact the last time we won at home in the league was 1st March, some six months ago against Dunfermline, and we’ve lost or drawn every game at Tannadice since, and whilst that sounds dreadful, it’s only actually been nine games. Still, has to be said that this season, as well as last, we are better away from home than here at Tannadice.
What are the reasons for this? Some have pointed to the fans being quite harsh on these performances at home, which in turn makes the players edgy and nervous. The fans of course, have every right to be unhappy with a home record like ours, so it’s a tricky one to see a way out of.
I personally feel we are gradually improving under Ian McCall, and he is building the team’s confidence slowly but surely, and we are beginning to compete with those in the mid-table. If he can inspire confidence at home where we most need it, we could have a United legend in the making. Come On Ian!!
There’s a big test coming up with, gulp, two home games, against the league leaders Celtic, and the following week against Hearts (note the rescheduled date, now Sunday 30th). There’s no doubt at all that these games will provide a very stern test. Nobody expects us to win against Celtic, and to quote the stats once more, we haven’t taken a point from Celtic at Tannadice since the 8th of August 1999, when we beat them two-one, with Dodds getting on the scoresheet. Feel free to repeat that one Billy! We haven’t beaten Hearts at home since 3rd May 1997! So there’s two records to break. Come on United!
We won’t win the league this year (shock huh?) but we will slowly start to climb the table. We’ll be in the middle clump by the finish I reckon, though whether we’ll be fourth or eighth is anyone’s guess.