After successfully completing our third home game in a week, Manchester United take to the road to Middlesbrough where they have traditionally had difficult games. If you ask me, this is not the perfect time to make such a journey, and whilst Fergie will rotate his squad with Tuesday in mind, this game could prove to be the one that ruins our season for us. The thing is, Middlesbrough have always loved giving Manchester United nightmares at the Riverside, but Saturday's fixture is not just about getting another over United, it is the first of four bids to stay in this division next season. Gareth Southgate's men are struggling in the relegation zone and their manager feels that they have to take points off one of the big boys one more time if they are to stay up. Well they failed to get anything from the Emirates last weekend, so you feel that he had this game in mind as the best possible chance to nick priceless points. It's not that United are a team that one can mark as fodder, but there is something about the Riverside that United rarely get right. Boro have rarely been a problem at OT but they seem to up the tempo a lot when they are home. Also, there is something about their fans sitting out most of their home games but filling the stadium when United visit. It's just a case of one of those clubs that loves to beat United.
So it's kind of worrying when you hear Sir Alex saying that he will make wholesale changes to the team on Saturday. I understand his move but you cannot completely put the vital members of the squad out of the picture here. This game is as important to United as any has been this season. Any fan can understand if we lost the Champions League this season but I doubt any will if Liverpool pip us to the title. We have three crucial league games that could win us the title regardless what Arsenal does to us on the 16th of May. Beat Boro, City and Wigan and the title is all but ours! Any slip up tomorrow might as well damage any plans for Tuesday. I think United played like that on Wednesday against Arsenal because of the second-half performance against Spurs. In other words, sometimes, you best prepare for mid-week games by winning your weekend games. It's a case of keeping the momentum going. It's quite a while since United got more than a three point lead at the summit. Since the defeat to Liverpool, they have been so close to us that it's disgusting. Saturday is our chance to put clear daylight between us and themselves at least for 24 hours. It will be a psychological blow to them nonetheless.
Team news; United will not have Ferdinand after injuring his rib against Arsenal in mid-week but he will start on Tuesday. Wes Brown will play a part on Saturday so Rafael could start whilst I think the likes of Nani and Park will play. Tevez could start and so could Scholes. It's best the rest of the team remains the same. Don't know if anybody else has noticed but we have dropped points in all early kick-off games this season. Fingers crossed!