The Manchester United team that contained both Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona is, for me, the defining side of this club. It had a mix of grit and flair, youth and experience; it also had a fair mount of character. Mark Hughes, the player, remains one of my all time favourites and, despite his terrible alignment with Manchester City a few years ago, I am still a huge fan.
Hughesie himself was no admirer of the officialdom at Old Trafford at the weekend. The referee was alarmingly quick to reach for the red card but it was the linesman’s decision that really buried QPR. Ashley Young was fouled after all. The whole thing felt like watching a traffic accident, it happened so fast. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a bad refereeing decision that scored for Arsenal in London, and it wasn't poor officiating that has made City collapse over the last four weeks.
But it is still too early to celebrate, and United will still make us suffer. Recently, Aston Villa got a decent result against us for the first time in aeons, Wigan Athletic’s time will come. Obviously I hope it is not this week, but our run of form against the local side cannot go on forever.
Besides, if you care to glance at the league table over in Spain this morning, you will see compelling evidence that points advantages can be clawed back. Real Madrid will be genuinely feeling the heat right now. A few weeks ago the scribes were talking as if the title were already won, just as they are now in England. Things can become precarious awfully quickly.
It is inherently risky for people in the ‘all time great’ category to come out of retirement, but Paul Scholes has broken the mould again. A great deal will written about how the maestro has turned our fortunes around and there are some telling statistics that tell the story. United now have the highest passing completion rate in the division. Before he returned we were sixth. On Sunday, he ran the game. In truth, he has run the last few for us.
The Easter connection between chocolate eggs, rabbits and Jesus is lost on me, I just don’t understand. From a young age, the Easter holiday was all about cramming football fixtures together for me. The clubs used to play on Good Friday and again on Easter Sunday, I am not sure why that tradition has stopped. United being eight points clear at Easter however, is a tradition I am happy to embrace.
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