The weather permitting, Manchester United are scheduled to play Birmingham at tea time tomorrow at St. Andrews stadium. The reverse fixture was our first of the season and looking back, we could have learnt a lot from that game as far as the rest of the season is concerned. We won, 1-0 courtesy of a Wayne Rooney goal, but missed a lot of chances especially in the second half and we were not quite up to the task of opening up our opponents. These traits are still with us at the half way stage of the season.
For many a neutral fans, we are 'not good enough' to win a major trophy this year (and by that I mean league and Champions League). We might still lift a Carling Cup here and there because at the end of the day, we are Man United but as far as those national and European supremacy, we're not at the level.
Only the most optimistic of fans can tell you otherwise to be fair. I am one of those fans (the title of this blog should give you a hint). I love this football club and so much so that I still believe that we can turn this season yet into a very successful one. The one thing that still bothers me is CONSISTENCY!
Which brings me to my preview; United have been very inconsistent so far by their standards. That we have failed to put together a run of wins characteristic of every season we play is testament to this. We could still go on a run but then it has to be said that it has a little bit longer this season.
The least we demand from our team (being United) is consistency. It's hard to blame the players though as the manager has not played a consistent team since we beat Barcelona 1-0 in the Champions League semi-final in 2008 and West Ham 4-1 in the Premier League the following Saturday (good old days...huh). The manger himself is not to blame as we've had the worst injury crisis at the back in his time at the club. I thought we would gain a bit of consistency with Brown and Vidic at the back. We won the two games they played together and suddenly Vidic is injured again. He will miss the game tomorrow. Thankfully Brown and Evans are fit but that is what...like the sixth centre half partnership we've had this season? When players are not used to plying alongside each other, you concede goals like the one Leeds scored on Sunday!
Having said that, you still expect a United side buoyed by their 5-0 win over a Premier League club to find a way past a League One club! Inconsistency!
So which United team will show up tomorrow. We've not played a game in midweek so we should be in great shape. I expect Sir Alex to have told the players that this is the backlash the fans have been waiting for since the final whistle last week. The league is, despite our form. still in our reach. Chelsea play a lot earlier than us tomorrow so we could be five points off the top yet again heading into this one. It's up to us to keep up.
United have been lacking that free shooter of the ball in and around the penalty area but we can make that up by fighting like the red devils we are to force our way to our opponents' goal.
The press are keen to point out that this United side is not worth United quality. I expect the lads to use the remainder of the season to prove themselves.
We've got Mame Briam Diouf available with us so that's another striker who should play a part in the run in.
Vidic is out and so are the regular absentees, EVDS might be back in goal. Birmingham are not your ordinary Birmingham this season. They nearly left OT with a point, and neither Chelsea nor Liverpool have beaten them. We ought to keep our wits about them.