At the start of the season, the media had us below Chelsea and Manchester City in their prediction of the final league standings. We weren't as active in the transfer window as we would have liked. The manager has since said that bothe David Villa and Wesely Sneidjer preferred to stay put in their countries of employment. Our most significant signing was a little known Mexican Javier Hernandez who we would only know about during the World Cup. Chris Smalling and Bebe were meant for the future so by and large, the team that finished second in the league to Chelsea by a point, in the last eight of Europe and Carling Cup winners was essentially the team that Sir Alex would entrust with the duty of winning us that 19th league title that would put up over and above anyone else domestically in terms of league titles won.
We simply had to Believe especially given that the likes of City spent heavily revamping their squads. Somewhere somehow, you felt comfortable in the knowledge that we had a team composed of players who wanted to play for us. Its why the Wayne Rooney saga really rocked us fans in October---a lot about that saga showed that he was in for the money.
After ending the year unbeaten in the season proper, suddenly thoughts of a treble started surfacing--and those thoughts would only grow stronger until last week when of all teams, the Bitters knocked us out of the Cup. We've got a dark horse for opposition the semifinals of the European Cup so that means if we take them as seriously as we should, it could be another Wembley day for us and another Champions League final, another shot at making this season, a vintage United season.
But halt! Think back in August. The most biased of United fans probably only had the league as our target at this time of the season--simply because it is our trophy and its only right that we win in. I mean getting knocked out of Europe and the Cup sucks but nothing beats the sick feeling of seeing another team claim domestic gold. It kind of does us an injustice because we're by far, the best club in the country in all aspects.
It's why I think we've been too generous with our title challengers. We've given them so much room to recover quite a number of times and I fear that we're losing track of our primary target each season. The two points dropped at Newcastle have made Chelsea--not Arsenal, our main title rivals. That could mean that we've been on some bit of 'Arsenal form' lately whilst Chelsea have gone about winning their games quietly. A six point lead is still a healthy one given that of the five games left, three are home and two away but that means we cannot afford to prioritise the Champions League.
For instance it will be taking a great risk if Fergie were to rest his stars instead of going at Everton full throttle. Failure to register three points on Saturday could mean that we've blown open the title race and hence endangered our position at the top which we've held for the best part of 7 months. I still feel that the Champions League is a bonus and so we shouldn't risk throwing away what we have in hand in pursuit of what we're not certain of winning. More still, we have a second leg at OT to correct whatever mistakes we make in Germany on Tuesday so hopefully the Everton match will take precedence over anything.
Onwards and Upwards!
Labels: MANCHESTER UNITED