This is not a drill. Manchester United are top of the Premier League for the first time since 2017.
And should they win at Liverpool this weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be six points clear.
But can they actually win the title this season for the first time in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era? Let’s take a look.
Who could have predicted that United would be in this position when they were hammered 6-1 at home by Tottenham in their second game of the season?
But 15 games down the line, that result looks more like an anomaly than the huge red flag it appeared to be.
After all, who hasn’t had a dodgy result this season? Liverpool had their Villa Park debacle; Manchester City were battered at home by Leicester; Tottenham’s form dropped off a cliff in December; and dropping points has become a damaging habit for Chelsea.
United definitely have a squad capable of competing for the title. They’ve got two very good goalkeepers, a defence that isn’t perfect but isn’t bad either, two of the best midfielders in the world and a forward line which boasts Edinson Cavani as a back-up option.
It won’t take anything like 100 points to win the title in this chaotic season, that’s for sure. United are currently on course to finish with 80 and though it would be the lowest title winning total since they won it in 2010/11, it might just be enough to do it this year.
It’s a bit of a fallacy that winning while not playing well is the mark of champions but every title winner needs to grind results out at some point in the season, and United are arguably the best team in the league at doing just that.
Unlike Liverpool and City, they don’t have to worry about the Champions League later in the season, meaning they should be able to focus most of their efforts on domestic matters.
And if they’re still in touching distance of the top of the table when they face Liverpool at Old Trafford in early May, they will be in a great position to go on and claim the title.
We may be almost half way through January but we’re not even at the halfway point in the season yet.
And though City would only have 35 points if they win their two games in hand, it does feel like momentum is building in the blue half of Manchester, and Pep Guardiola’s side are at the start of a run which will see them overtake United at some point.
It’s impossible to say for sure, but ask yourself this … who do you trust more to oversee a title-winning run of results, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Pep Guardiola?
If we’ve learnt anything from this season so far, it’s that Solskjaer isn’t a total managerial charlatan after all. The Norwegian may not be tactically spectacular but he deserves credit for finding a system which has gelled his best players together, and the results have taken care of themselves.
But he has no experience of a Premier League title run-in as a manager and United’s results against their direct competitors could ultimately be their downfall.
This season they’ve been beaten by Spurs and Arsenal, while their games against Chelsea and City were dour 0-0 draws that could have gone either way.
Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence that United aren’t good enough to win the title came against City in the Carabao Cup last week, when they were outplayed and well beaten by a team that just look a bit more streetwise. Sunday’s trip to Anfield is likely to teach us even more about Solskjaer’s men.
It seems likely that United will get within touching distance of the title this year and that has to be considered a huge step in the right direction but they don’t yet have the squad and the manager required to go that extra mile.