After Tuesday nights 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park, an average performance and 2 more points dropped in what could well turn out to be a very tight finish to this years Premier League, there have been calls all over various websites and forums demanding the immediate sale of players and a general unhappiness after a week which, until Arsenal’s draw with Spurs seemed to be heading towards disappointment.
But I have to ask – are things really as bad as some supporters are making out?
An FA Cup semi final, a Champions League semi final, and in the driving seat for a 4th Premier League title in 5 years, all for a club that were written off at the start of the season in many quarters and has had it’s fair share of problems during the season ( the Rooney saga, injuries to Valencia and Rio). I for one would rather be in this position than any of our rivals, all of which will be ending the season trophy less ( obviously hoping Stoke do a job for us at Wembley).
It has been a far from vintage year. Where once we could travel to any ground and be confident of 3 points we are now nervous and clock watching, counting down the minutes until we can leave with a point. Earlier in the season we had the indignity of conceding 2 late goals at Everton, adding to the late equaliser at Fulham. Our squad is being questioned by our own fans.
No longer is the mantra “In Fergie We Trust” being heard, but instead it is replaced with mumblings of discontent for players such as Carrick, O’Shea, Berbatov, Johnny Evans. This is not like us at all. I haven’t heard our own fans on the back of our own players like this since the great “Goalkeeper Fiasco” after Schmeichel retired.
Some comments I can understand. Carrick doesn’t run a game against midfielders like Tiote, Barton, Barry like he should. He seems to find out hard to get a hold on the ball, never mind 90 minutes of a match. But then every now and then he pulls a pass out that reminds everyone why the £18m was paid for him. John O’Shea isn’t there to be the first name on the teamsheet, he is there though to provide cover, and when that cover comes he does a good job. Not spectacular, just enough when needed.
And then we come to “The Berbatov Enigma”. In some games he is unplayable, prowling around ready for that one or 2 moments of genius that win a match and leave everyone gasping at his genius. Counter acting these moments are matches like the recent semi v our neighbours. The stage was set for Dimi to stake his claim to start the big games remaining this season, and to lead United to the title. Instead, his lines were fluffed, in what was generally a below par performance by the whole team.
Yes, if Chelsea, or even Arsenal, were playing to their full potential things might have been much different, and we could be lying in 2nd or even 3rd, but they aren’t.
We have done enough this season, just enough, and sometime that is what matters. I won’t be going into the remaining (possible )8 games downhearted, instead I’ll be looking forward to Rooney, Hernandez and Berba scoring the goals that gives us the all important 19th title, the continued return to fitness of Valencia and Anderson, and the growing stature of Smalling, a player that has so far proved that SAF’s eye for a player is still on the ball, and an able replacement for the injured Rio.
So let’s get behind the team, the players and the manager. Things could be worse, but as we’re top of the league and in the Champions League semi-final it doesn’t get much better right now.
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