It is hard to get philosophical about an away game at Stoke. It is going to be difficult and is likely to be grim. What’s more, last week we were being fed the football equivalent of lobster on the top of Mount Olympus by a naked Marilyn Monroe – so it was always going to be a come down from there.
However, as Marilyn retires to the kitchen to do the washing up, I find myself coming to my senses and having a look at the season so far. We ain’t doing too bad at all. Arsenal, Spurs, City and now Stoke have been dispatched and we have maximum points for our efforts, not to mention a tricky European Cup tie out of the way too.
None of our rivals have had as prickly a run of fixtures so far, Liverpool’s six against Hull being about as impressive as winning an arm wrestle against a quadriplegic badger, and poor little Carlo can’t even understand how his mob lost at Wigan.
The ‘experts’ will tell you that getting results against ‘tough, direct teams’ like Bolton and Stoke and anybody with a player who can tackle is what wins you championships. Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just getting results in general. Nani did look like a player you can knock over without too much trouble (he’d make a great Arsenal player) but we still got the result.
The thing that strikes me about United’s play at the moment is that they are operating much more as a team than before. Previously we had the “Give it to Ronaldo” mentality that by and large payed dividends. Now the passes are pinging across the pitch more unpredictably and more of our players and getting involved at the cutting edge. Everybody is getting a chance to shine and they look a bit happier too. Except Rooney of course, who was born angry.
After the sneering at Giggsie winning the Player of the Year award last year it is deeply satisfying to see him showing everyone a thing or two on the pitch again. What a renaissance he is having, who is playing better in the league at the moment? Torres, perhaps Rooney?
The thing is though, I worry how we will get on at the business end of the Champions League this year. Ronaldo was the difference in the last two seasons and we might possibly be up against it should we meet either those large Spanish teams. One hopes that God is on our side if those fixtures come up. Next up is Volfsburg on Wednesday, the German equivalent of Stoke methinks, let’s pack our silver bullets for the occasion.
Follow Mark at www.thedevilinme.co.uk and @markjpayne on twitter
Photography from my mate Eileen