Saturday's three o'clock fixture against Norwich at OT was always looking like the one in which we would take our eyes off the ball a bit and in the end drop at least a couple of points. I mean, with Real Madrid in town on Tuesday and a 12 point lead in March, the complacency was visible from the on-set at OT.
We made hard-work of what in the end turned out to be a comfortable outing. The tempo and pace of the game was slow and drab, so much so that going into half-time it appeared like Norwich, without registering a shot at goal, were about to accomplish phase one of their task. Thankfully, the stroke of luck that we missed earlier on in the match ensured that Kagawa had the easiest of jobs of tuck away from within the six yard area.
The second half was pretty much the same story until the last quarter of the match when RVP was withdrawn for Welbeck. Suddenly, United sprung to life and immediately got the crucial second just when Norwich were plotting to steal a point. That second goal by Kagawa was the cherry on the cake for me (sorry Wayne). The composure with which he slid it home told of the quality that lies within him. It's long since we had a midfielder that makes late runs in the box and tucks away chances. That all three of his goals came from his instinct to leave the midfield and join the strikers in the box is something that the manager should take note. Tactically of course that makes the boss' selection for Tuesday even more interesting.
The bigger picture however is that we've managed to put ourselves 15 points ahead of City again ahead of their fixture with Aston Villa. With just 10 games of the season left, that makes title number 20 all the more realistic. The title was in my opinion our prime target this year. The FA Cup and Champions League will be welcome but I won't be too disheartened if we miss out on the Cups. So, you can imagine how pleased I was that the manager started with his best attack for the Saturday game.
All too often, we've seen Fergie use the approach of best players on the bench to come on and rescue the situation. On Saturday, he used the approach that I prefer. Start the best you've got and take them off when the game is won. Credit to him for that.
Attention of course turns to what is so far our biggest game of the season. Real Madrid at Old Trafford is as big a Champions League night as we shall get at home so this where its up to the fans to turn the usually silent theatre into a cathedral of football. The last time I remember us doing that to our best was Barcelona 2008. I think the occasion merits such an atmosphere. It would certainly make the Busby Babes proud to knock out a side that posed their biggest challenge during their time.
Special mention to Ryan Giggs who just signed a one year contract extension that will take him into his 23rd season at Manchester United. Nothing more that I can add to that which will not be-little the Legend that he is.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!
Labels: REVIEWS, UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE