Manchester United, that team who are Champions, host former title rivals Chelsea on Sunday, and boss Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t going to let this game go, just because number twenty is in the bag.
Not a chance will he let Rafa Benitez have an easy ride in the race for fourth place, and has stoked up the pressure on the Spaniard who has a proven track record in ‘cracking up’….(fact).
Sir Alex said: “…You can’t dispute the fact he has done a good job in the last few weeks….the key to it is that the fans have settled down a little bit. They have left him alone. He has got on with managing his job…it can’t be easy, listening to pressure from the fans all the time….they have eased up. It has allowed him to relax and they have produced some good results.”
Cue the reaction from the Chelski fans….a doubly vocally point aimed at anyone who cares, and Ferguson, that they still despise their manager, and automatically puts their team on tenterhooks.
I love it when Fergie does this. Love it. There’s only one boss.
Paul Scholes may be back in the squad for the first time since January for this one. He has been missing with a knee injury and there is a 50/50 chance that he’ll retire in the summer. If so, the manager will be eager to give his loyal ginger prince a great send off, and the fans will want to do the same, and that could happen on Sunday.
Danny Welbeck misses the game with a knee injury, but the reds have Nemanja Vidic back, who has recovered from a calf strain.
For the visitors, Ashley Cole returns to the side after being suspended in Europe, and Edne Hazard is a doubt after coming off in the game against Basle in midweek.
Oriol Romeu is definitely missing with a knee injury.
What does the rest of the season mean?
Do we write the season off now? Well, the trophies in the bag, and we could be on season shut down. Unlike some, I’ve never been a believer that you have to play fair towards other teams when you’ve guaranteed your own survival, or won the title. It’s up to your own team to hit their own targets and do their job without any other help, and if we’ve done that ourselves in winning the title so early, then we can do what we like to the rest of OUR season, and no-one elses season matters.
However, we’ll want to go out on a high, and as stated above, Fergie will want to stuff it up Benitez. We’re not doing this for Spurs, Arsenal or anyone else; we’re doing it for United.
Prior to the Arsenal game, it was possible to clinch the record for the number of points in a season. We can’t catch Chelsea’s 95 points now, but we can eclipse our own total of 92 points that we set in 1994, which is impressive seeing as we only play 38 matches now, as opposed to 42. So that’s worth going for.
Robin Van Persie is on 25 goals, and it’s very possible that he can finish the season with 30 goals. To do this, we’d realistically need to look at victory in all of our remaining three games – a brilliant milestone for a player in his first season with the club.
It could also mean some of the younger players who’ve not yet had any Premier League action get a taste of what could come their way if they really want it.
It’s been noted that Adnan Januzaj has been given a squad number in recent weeks, and there’s been mootings on various forums that he could get some minutes at some point.
Sunday’s game still has things to play for, and United will always want to show that putting faith in longevity, home grown talent and carefully selected signings triumphs over quick wins and short solutions.
Wherever you’re watching it, enjoy the game.
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