United sit top, but do we BELIEVE?
If there is one thing you can call United this season, it would be consistent. We have been consistently average at home, doing what is necessary to gain victory and the three points. We have been consistently poor away from home, especially in games against Everton and Villa, and we have been consistently written off for being the worst United side since the 80’s. Somehow, we sit top of the league, unbeaten, on the same points as our blue friends from Stockport, yet with two games in hand. Fergie’s latest masterstroke could turn out to be his greatest ever if this side goes on to lift title number 19.
Our latest game against Spurs ended in a dire 0-0 draw in which we escaped White Hart Lane with a point after going down to ten men. A number of things were evident after the Spurs game; such as Michael Carrick is a million time better playing as part of a three in midfield; Darren Fletcher, in his current form, is like a shadow of his former self and almost as useless as John O’Shea (I’m sorry, but its true); Once Wayne Rooney slams home that first goal, the floodgates will open; and if United are to carry on and lift the title in May we may need a midfielder to freshen things up because it’s looking stale out there.
In my opinion we are coming up to a key part of the season. Once the Champions League and Euro League start again in February, anything can happen. Injuries pile up, suspensions kick in and form can be destroyed by a few bad games in a week. So let’s look at the next few games for the top five leading up to Europe restarting:
Southampton (away, FA Cup)
Aston Villa (home)
Man Citeh (home)
Leicester (home FA Cup)
Aston Villa (away)
*Possible FA Cup tie*
West Brom (home)
Man United (away)
Leeds (away, FA Cup)
Ipswich (home, C Cup)
*possible FA Cup tie*
Everton (away, FA Cup)
Fulham (away, FA Cup)
Chelsea and Spurs both face a lot of away games leading up to the Champions League so there is a distinct possibility points could be dropped there. Arsenal have extra games to the other four teams due to the FA Cup replay and Carling Cup Semi-Final. There is a big chance for United and Citeh to break away from the pack in February and make the derby clash on Saturday 12th February the most significant derby of recent history.
Now is the time for United to step up their game and get into top gear. History has taught us that January, February and March are usually when we hit form, yet the Faithful are still waiting with baited breathe for it to happen. Our fixtures coming up are not the toughest and this could be the time we finally get into gear. Getting Rooney scoring would be a massive bonus. Having a fit Antonio Valencia and a returning Ji Sung Park would help Giggsy get the rest he so clearly needs. Having a fully fit Paul Scholes available to call on will be just what the doctor ordered. And finally, if Uncle Malcolm dips into his pocket and SAF identifies that spark that we have missed in so many games this season, then who knows how far this team can go. Its well organised, with a back four as formidable as any in Europe and a strike force that is capable of scoring three or four times a game if the chances are there.
Chances are we won’t bring in anyone of significance in January. With the majority of players cup-tied from European competitions, Fergie will probably keep the cheque book locked away and focus on what we have in the squad. Saying that, SAF has shocked us before. The signings of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra both came during the January transfer window. I’ve been a United fan for long enough to know that you never try and guess what the wily old Scot will do and just go with the flow. One thing is for sure though. This is the time where United need to stand up and start making the rest of the Premier League fear us as potential champions elect.