It seemed as though the forces of darkness were at work this weekend. Not only did Manchester City crush plucky Norwich, but both Liverpool and Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup Final - thereby ensuring that at least one of the truly evil clubs will finish the season with a trophy. At least, by winning convincingly late on Sunday afternoon, United gave us light at the end of the tunnel.
Alas, the forces of darkness were involved with the early part of our victory. Despite the theatrics, it was the correct decision to award a penalty to Ashley Young. But unfortunately, this is the second week on the trot he has needed defending for the same reason.
My position as a United fan is that I do not approve of diving and it is not okay for a United player to be a serial offender. In the past, Nani and Ronaldo did a bit too much tumbling, but after a few stern chats from Fergie it was eradicated from their games. This is Young's first season at the club, I expect him to be staying on his feet more in the future. This week he is being pilloried a little too harshly, he will learn the lesson.
Our performance midweek against Wigan was severely lacking in class. On the field, and in the papers the next day, it seemed as though the lack of Paul Scholes was the thing that undid us. Perhaps, but I think the players were also knackered after a gruelling run of games. Wigan too were extremely good value for their victory and deserved the spoils.
However, I can't help but think that we would have stood a better chance if Dimitar Berbatov had been on the field. He is perhaps the most talented player in the division and has the skills necessary to unlock a defence on his own. It is now accepted that he is leaving at the end of the season, it would be nice to see him put away a few more goals before he rides off into the sunset.
As dusk approaches for the 2011/2012 season, United and City are destined to punch it out until the end. I expect it to be something of a heavyweight bout between now and the final afternoon, with both clubs landing heavy blows. It reminds me somewhat of the 2007 title season, the last against Mourinho, where two strong sides went blow for blow with each other.
Thankfully, the upper hand is ours right now. The strong victory over Villa ensures that it stays that way.
Come on you reds.
Thanks to ESPN's worldwide coverage Mark's blog has been nominated for a People's Choice Award in a far-flung land. Please click here and vote for 'Manchester United Correspondent'. Don't forget to scroll to the end when you are finished to make your vote count.
Follow Mark on twitter.com/markjpayne