Date: 29th December 2011 at 1:44pm
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Rio's return is a massive boost for a decimated defence

Rio's return is a massive boost for a decimated defence

At first the title of this article may seem like a statement from an afficionado of Manchester City, after all how could any self-respecting United fan find comfort from a near disastrous list? Well, allow me to elucidate, over the past few weeks United have at one point or another been without – deep breath now- Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chicharito, Fabio, Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Michael Owen, Ashley Young, and Bebe- alright, I’ll concede the last one isn’t exactly ‘disastrous.’

That’s practically United’s entire first team out with injuries yet where do the Reds currently sit in the Barclays Premier League? Second, with the same amount of points as leaders City, the only difference being five goals. “Ah wait!” I hear you cry, “every team has injuries, even City!” Do they? Well the M.E.N reports- rather happily- “Mancini was given a boost ahead of a hectic January schedule with news that his squad will be back at full strength.”

Back at full strength after losing Owen Hargreaves- I know, such a rarity, Alexander Kolarov and Micah Richards who was out for the WBA game. United have survived a decimating pile up and somehow actually managed to claw back points from our ‘Noisier then ever neighbours.’

I’ll admit, the loss of and Fletcher for in all likelihood the entire season, could prove to be fatal, only time will truly tell, but at the moment, the Reds have shown Sir Alex Ferguson’s faith in the strength of his squad is far from misplaced.

Critics will look at the games we’ve had over the Christmas period and note they were hardly the most ardous, yet that’s being a little dismissive of United’s acheivements. QPR gave City a very tough test, while Fulham held them to a 2-2 draw. These are the type of games we were dropping points in last season, regardless of how many players we had available, so to have taken maximum points from our last five games, including three away fixtures, is no mean feat, take into account the players we’ve had out and it’s nothing short of inspiring.

Teams suffer injuries, that’s as assured as a Luis Suarez controversy, but not all sides can cope the way United have done. City may well be enjoying the rub of the green -wise, that Hargreaves was signed merely to give the Eastlands medical team something to do are as yet unfounded, but it may not all be plain sailing for our rivals.

Regardless of whether City experience the type of misfortune United have had to endure, there can be no denying that to be level on points with the team that was being described as ‘untouchable’ by a fawning ABU only a few weeks ago, especially with the injuries weve had, is a momentus acheivement.

City may sit on the top of the Premier League for now, but with the likes of Phil Jones, and Rio all set to be fit for the visit of bottom-placed Blackburn on New Year’s Eve, could be a lot brighter than many Reds feared it would be not so long ago.

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