Going into the weekend fixture, the worry was that United would ease off and let complacency get the better of them after the highs of the week before. Thankfully the players were well on the task and a blissful 60 minutes saw us build a comfortable lead that insulated us from the extreme nerves that come with our inability to keep a clean sheet.
The biggest highlight of the match was undoubtedly the return of El Capitano Senior Nemanja Vidic, but I would say that the most crucial bit of the game was the realisation that perhaps Carrick and Cleverley might just be the best midfield combinaton we've got at the club.They were as brilliant and efficient as they were against City last Sunday. It spoke volumes that the swagger we started with disappeared when the old guard Giggs and Scholes came on. One hopes that the manager gives Clev time in the side to stake his claim alongside Carrick.
My only disappointment on the night was the humanity and empathy that is creeping in Valencia's game. What happened to the ruthless beast that never cared if we were thrashing people for dead and still whipped in those balls? The one we have now will merely run to the corner flag or the edge of the box and stop. Snap out of it Tony, get the ball in!
Three points preserved our lead going into Christmas but we've got a couple of banana skins in there to negotiate our way into the New Year. The manager hopes that we can get to January still on top, but I do hope we get there with at least our 6 point gap intact. The reality is, we shall struggle to compete with City in Feb if we are as close to them as we were last year as we're involved in Europe. A comfortable lead will only serve to keep the players confident of their ability to challenge on both fronts.
Its a long break till Swansea away, but before then is a small matter of the Champions League draw. Anyone that we shall get will give us a game, given the opponents on offer, but there is still a couple of names that you'd rather face in a semi or final.
Happy Holidays Everyone!