You couldn't possibly make up what we were treated to in yesterday's United-Chelsea clash at Old Trafford. Let's just say, that we might never see a game of the sort ever or at least between the twoo sides.
For starters, contrary to what we've grown used to between these two sides, there seemed to be a distinct shortage of negative tactics. I struggle to remember when we last saw as open a game between United and Chelsea as we did. I mean, it could really have finished 9-5 last night. Wayne and Torres could have each walked away with a treble of goals and quite frankly the three points seemed to dangle between United and Chelsea for just about the entire match despite United soaring into a 3-0 lead at the break.
Fernando Torres did have a good game but of all the chances he passed up yesterday, I thought THAT ONE was inexcusable. If he nets it, United are under pressure for the last ten minutes or so and who knows, his team could have hustled a point. When your club dishes out £50m to sign you, there are certain things you're expected to do, and failing to hit the target with an entire goal at your mercy is not one of them.
Wayne Rooney was gulity of missing the penalty (in John Terry style) to seal the game for United but when you've got 9 goals in five games, it does buy you some leverage to have one or two off days. It that leverage that Torres lacks and therefore is due all the criticism he can get despite the good game he had.
Ultimately though, we're a lucky bunch to have come away with another vital three points. This was one of those weekends made for drama in the league (just take a look at the full result list) so to come away with maximum points was priceless. The reward is that we're now clear at the top of the league after City found it difficult to balance Europe and the League.
Individually, I thought the ypung players got a bit of stage fright and a dip in confidence at times in the match. Two of them however seemed unbothered by the nerves and stage; they were David De Gea and Phil Jones. I thought De Gea's stunning save to deny Ramires in the first half was as vital as they get and was my turning point in the match. United were 1-0 up through Smalling but if Ramires equalises, Chelsea get all the confidence in the world and United's youth might not have recovered. It was similar to what happened in the Arsenal game. If van Persie scores the penalty, Arsenal are thrown right back into it and who knows what happens from then.
As did happen in that Arsenal game, after De Gea's stunning save, we almost imeediately went 2-0 up. This time, through FLOM's man of the match Nani. Its fair to say that his solo effort stunned the United bench. To be fair to the lad, he did have a good game besides his goal and right now I'm thinking the club should start negotiations for a new contract for him. His performance toay might have ensured that Valencia will warm the bench for another week yet.
Phil Jones is the other player that I thought seemed unnerved by the level required of him yesterday. It didn't bother him one bit that we were playing against Chelsea and kept powering forward in the same way that he's done this season. One of those runs got us the third goal through Rooney. His form has made it impossible for Sir Alex to leave him out of the team. A great array of defensive talent at our disposal now!
I said in my preview that a win for United would be ominous for our title rivals and I think despite the performance yesterday, we've really sent out a strong message to our rivals. Its a given that United will eventually slip but we're putting ourselves in a position whereby that that slip will not do much damage to our title chances.
Also on the negative side ast night, we lost Chris Smalling to a groin injury and Javier Hernandez to a horrendous tackle from Ashley Cole. That Vida and elbeck are soon returning should soften the blow but its alarming the rate att which we are losing these players. Its gutting that the young players who have established themsleves in the side are seeing injury rob them of their opportunities. Hopefully injury doesn't disrupt their form.
Next up is that (match-fixed) Leeds United tie in the Carling Cup---a chance to avenge our FA Cup exit to them two years ago.
Onwards and Upwards!