So the unbeaten run has come to an end and although the press is rather shocked at the opposition that ended it, I have to say that I always had the feeling that it would be ended by a side that is least expected to give us problems. I mean it's what the Premier League is made of---bottom of the table can beat top of the table three time out of 10!
The biggest disappointments on the night were that considering that Arsenal collapsed earlier at St. James' Park, we had a big big chance of going 7 points ahead of the chasing pack going into the Manchester derby next weekend. That would have deflated our rivals more than anything but as it stands, we've now given them more reason to believe and be consistent. It actually means that whilst getting a point next week would have been a good result, the only way we can smile after the derby is if we pick up all three points. I mean our position at the top is no longer as comfortable as it was a few hours ago. More dropped points before our rivals drop could put us under some pressure which we have handled down the years but the question will be can this group of players handle it?
I'd like that our coaching department work with our players on set piece defending because the mistakes at Blackpool were repeated last night. Johnny Evans and Darren Fletcher have for me, been the most disappointing players of the campaign so far. That is because of what we now expect of them. Fletcher seems to have forgotten what made him one of our best players in 2009. I'd like that we keep more clean sheets between now and the end of the season because at the moment, given how many we are letting in, our goal difference is taking a hit. Berbatov and Chicharito seem the perfect combination to the naked eye because Wayne is no longer as effective as he was a season ago. I thought the manager made a mistake in taking off the player of the season so far and leaving on Wayne. Maybe the couple of goals in mid-week gave him reason to trust him.
Ultimately though, it was a timely reality check that should see us through the remaining 13 games. Park and Valencia cannot be that far away and Anderson should start ahead of Fletcher now more often. Soon the manager will be picking his league team with an eye on a Champions League game but he has to get his priority right. The league is for me our chief target this year--the Champions League requires a lot more luck and so it fits the bonus category as far this season is concerned and as far as our player resources go this term.
Finally today we remember the Munich Air Disaster that claimed virtually our entire team in 1958. The Busby Babes--continue to play on in Heaven!