Its been a long  but much needed International break---so long that the media has found it necessary to print stories like 'Vidic to Madrid' or Ferdinand to MLS just to keep up their sales.
Thankfully for them, and armchair viewers of the incredible series that is the EPL, the drought comes to an end this Friday.

We're back in action on Saturday against Swansea City with us having to make the trip to Wales. Now the importance of this fixture cannot be overstated. For starters, nobody has won there so we have a jinx to break come tea time Saturday. City and Newcastle United play each other just before our game so we have to make the fixture count because either way, we'll finish Saturday either clearer of Newcastle or closer to the summit.
City don't look like they'll be giving away any points that easy this season, so its up to us to make sure that in the games they have stern opposition, we make them count.

The biggest plus for us that we should reap from this break is that we get to have Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley back for us. The team has looked short of ideas at times without them and the absence of Clev has made Wayne drop to the middle which has in turn taken something away from our attack. I do hope that on Friday, the manager blesses us with the news that we'll have them both available.

Finally it's also been refreshing to have an International break with most of our players afforded a bed rest. Rooney, Vidic, Rio, Clev, Young, Ando, are among the many that have not taken part in International duty for one reason or the other so we should be fresh enough for this mid-season kick-off. You just hope that the rest does them a world of good.

To be fair, its hard to imagine that we could dip in terms of performances after the break because we've been very poor between this and the last one. So far, the manager has got us to the basics of keeping things tight at the back after the City horror show and that has yielded four straight clean sheets---a remarkable feat given that we've not done that since the 2008/09 season. Hopefully we can now combine defensive solidity with flair performances that saw us win 5 out of 5 at the start of the season.