From the beginning: We were all set on our way to witness the shock result of the Premier League season so far on Tuesday night until something not unusual happened and restored expectations.
The manner of that particular 2-3 away win on Tuesday night at Blackpool is exactly what I thought we needed to send a clear message to our title rivals. Prior to the game, we only had two wins to show for our away day troubles so it was apparent that nothing we did at home would significantly move our rivals. It had to come away from home. So seeing United 2-0 down with a little over 20 minutes to play must have been paradise for many of our rivals. Winning 2-3 in the end must have had them itching for the night. Wins such as the one that we saw on Tuesday are usually characteristic of Champions.
I don't have to add to the praise that Dimi has got from the press during the past few weeks but I have to say that I'm chuffed for the Bulgarian. I mean after enduring two seasons of vehement abuse from rival fans and United fans alike, I think he needed a something to go for him there and I'm glad it did. Its amazing how quickly one can rise from the most frustrating player to the best in your team in a little over a couple of months.
Wayne Rooney on the other hand has so far not done enough to justify his huge weekly wages and what more--a certain little Mexican is, basing on appearances and goals, a better striking option at the moment. contrast of fortunes really. I mean whilst Berbatov got stick throughout the previous campaign, Wayne basked in the glory that his goal scoring form won him. The exact reverse seems to be happening now and its not least because of the early season transfer saga that went some way in damaging his relationship with the fans. Obviously I hope he gets to turn it around but I won't be complaining if The Little Pea keeps banging them in, pointing to the sky and kissing our badge.
The reward for picking up all three points at Blackpool was a 5 point lead at the summit of the league. I thought it was crucial we got the gap to five points because that gives us some kind of insurance should there be an unprecedented blip between now and May. Chelsea largely kept the distance between us and them to five points last season and that in the end helped them edge above us even when they dropped a couple of points towards the end of the season.
We've now gone 23 games unbeaten in the league--now into February and with 15 games left now, the butterflies are starting to have their way.
With no league action this weekend the FA Cup took centre stage and Sir Alex picked a more or less reserve team to take on Southampton at the St Mary's stadium. As usual, we made it very hard for ourselves by playing poorly in the first half but we certainly did make amends with a couple in the second half that have given us a place in the last 16 of the Cup. It's been 6 seasons since we last won that particular trophy so I've been yearning for it but I wouldn't sacrifice the league for it any day and that is probably whey I wasn't so disturbed by Fergie's team selection.
Giggs and Nani did their part to turn the game in our favour but once again it was Javier Hernandez who got us yet another match winner. The best thing about Javier's 11 goals for us is that I can't remember any of them that wasn't vital for us. His goals rarely add gloss to scoreline--they win games, and that's why Sir Alex will have to seriously start justifying Wayne Rooney's position in the team.
We've got Aston Villa in the league on Tuesday---as February kicks in. Onwards and upwards!