United clear-out on the horizon
A few aside, Red Devils have to fight for their future starting against the Cherries
Manchester United's last chance saloon is set to become a little more crowded this week.
When the Red Devils step out against Bournemouth tomorrow morning (Singapore time), they are not only vying for a place in the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday morning (Singapore time), but also playing for their future at Old Trafford.
Where Manchester City were once the ultimate "masters of complication", Jose Mourinho is now resigned to festooning such ignominious titles on the Red Devils' dressing room.
His side now stand where the newly crowned EPL champions did previously, long before Abu Dhabi began its single-handed transformation of Manchester's erstwhile poor relations.
United have assumed the "typical City" mantle; a team capable of pulling off the most unlikely results against the odds while simultaneously succumbing to the most unpredictable.
In just eight days, they handed the title coronation back to Pep Guardiola's side as quickly as they had taken it away in a second-half fightback at the Etihad Stadium on April 7.
Paul Pogba proved to be the key variable as the architect of City's downfall who lasted less than an hour against West Brom before Mourinho's patience with him finally snapped.
Any potential redemption against Bournemouth will likely prove short-lived for the France international. He is a Mourinho signing only in name and little else after a season where relations between player and manager have become increasingly awkward and beyond repair.
Pogba is unlikely to be the only casualty that will be shipped out in the summer for the crime of eschewing basic functionality in favour of flamboyance.
Others signed on the Special One's watch also find themselves in the firing line, notably Alexis Sanchez, as well as remnants from the abject tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
Chief among them is expected to be Ander Herrera while even Juan Mata's eternally sunny disposition will not be able to spare him from an inevitable departure which many foresaw happening when Mourinho arrived at the Theatre of Dreams almost two years ago.
Rarely has the former Chelsea boss minced his words and a season-defining week has merely intensified his modus operandi to begin United's efforts to catch up with City after failing to keep pace with them in a largely uncontested march to a third EPL crown.
Irrespective of the size of their price tag or similarly inflated sense of self-worth, no one is safe from an overdue clear-out of a squad which has become increasingly convoluted in the five years since Sir Alex Ferguson's ageing squad lifted the title.
Only a select handful of Mourinho favourites that fulfil basic duties such as Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and David de Gea are likely to be afforded a free pass in the short term.
Some find themselves inexplicably exempted from criticism despite chronically underperforming, not least a defence where wingers incapable of flourishing in their preferred positions have been forced to operate as makeshift fullbacks with mixed and extreme results.
They, too, may struggle to ward off suspicions once the current scapegoats are finally moved on.