Football is not a science. There are very few hard and fast rules against which we can make certain judgements. The rules we do have - offside, penalties, handballs - are contested every week by people who disagree. Given this climate it seems amazing there are so many people who are willing to make predictions and give judgements on the game. This week though, most of them did agree. Advantage Manchester United.
Before we all get carried away, let’s try and remember there are ten games to go and we are up against the most expensive team in history. There will be further twists and turns in this title race. Nonetheless, being top of the league for the first time since October is a great achievement.
Reaching the summit has been achieved on the back of a tremendously tough run of fixtures. Personally, I am left scratching my head because it seems some time since United actually played well for a full ninety minutes.
The season began with the team producing generation-defining results. Since the horrific day against City we haven’t really lit the blue touch paper though. Despite this, Fergie has had them grinding out result after result for months now. It is more than remarkable.
Logically, we should drop fewer points than City during the run in. That is what the fixture list suggests. But when did logic last come into things with Manchester United?
In some respects, we are being shielded by the phenomenal form of Wayne Rooney, who has scored 15 in 14 games of late. The defence looks like a unit which is missing its leader.
Rooney’s goal run was not enough to save us against Athletic Bilbao. For a long, long time United were unbeaten at home in Europe. That was a record that lasted until 1993 and was a source of more than a little pride. To lose two home games in the space of a few weeks leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Sound judgment tells us that things will be difficult for our side again this Thursday in Spain. This is though, the business end of the season. Let’s hope getting to the top of the table can be the springboard we need to put things right in Europe too.
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