Forgive the inactivity on this blog. I spent my festive season in a part of the world that is yet to fully appreciate the phenomenon that is the Internet.
The last time I blogged, United were heading into the busy Christmas period and I warned of the difficulty of playing against QPR and Fulham in tight pitches but much to our credit, the lads showed up in those games and we duly won, handsomely at that. Now, I worry about narrow pitches because United have traditionally relied on wing play as the source of their attacks. It was thence shocking to see us lose against Blackburn on our very own expansive pitch. It seemed bigger for us than it did for Blackburn who were able to combine attack and defence much better or at least more effectively than we did.
And just when we were about to write off that defeat with a blip, we allow Newcastle United to stand in our faces and claim all three points against us last night. Its not often that United lose two games on the bounce but if this team does not show the hunger and variety of play to solve problems brought by different teams, we might just lose three on the bounce given that our next stop is at the Etihad Stadium.
It would be unfair for me not to point out the catastrophic injury list that we have at the moment but I can't help but ask why our players seems to be out in numbers during the season proper. I mean, take time and think back. For the past four seasons or so, we've been with at least half a dozen players in the hospital for just about every week. The 2008 season seems to be the last time we've been at full strength for most of the season. Is it ill-luck or is there something that we don't know about our medical team?
Apparently Sir Ales feels that there is no need to panic and although many fans are disagreeing with him, I'd like to think that he's the one who is answerable to every performance after every match so if there is anyone that does anything in the best interest of Manchester United, it's him. I'll trust him, as I have always done and look out for what he has to offer post match.
When all is said and done, we're still just three points behind City. Now we'd have taken this position back in November when the five point gap seemed a mountain as City kept winning. However, I doubt we can afford to lose any more ground on them. The unfortunate thing to take in is that we've let point slip during our honey-moon time in the fixture list. January and February are particularly difficult months for us in terms of opposition. We have to go to White Hart Lane, The Emirates, Stamford Bridge and a couple of other uneasy ones. It means that we have a job on our hands to stay in touch with City who will have it slightly easy in the meantime.
The reward for staying in touch, that is if we do it, is an easier run in in March and April that could see us wipe out City's lead in the same we did over Christmas.
The Question therefore is: Can we stay in Touch?
I'm sure the performance, not the result, on Sunday will go a long way in helping u find that out.