Critics will point to the fact that United have picked up their form against the also-runs of the league and dropped points at the start of the season against stronger opposition. Be that as it may, the reality is that football is largely a game of confidence. Case in point; Aaron Ramsey has always had the talent in him too score and be what he is for Arsenal at the moment; but injuries and a drop in confidence meant that for the last one and a half seasons, he was one of those players Arsenal fans wouldn't care a jot if he was not in the team. The early season goals this term--against the also rans--have instilled in him such levels of confidence that he is playing like and attempting to score goals reserved for Arsenal legends.
Manchester United might have only registered wins against the Premier League minnows but their start to the season never afforded them time to build confidence especially at a time when the club was under new management in all departments of the club. The worry therefore was not in United's failure to pick up the points then, but in their failure to win winnable games. It's why the West Brom and Southampton points remain the biggest loss to United's season. If we had bagged those winnable 5 dropped points, we would be within 3 points of the league leaders. As it is we've nearly completing a month in 8th place.
On Saturday, United had to overcome one of those teams that they should beat and credit to the team for those 13 first half minutes that saw the team get three goals and virtually seal the points half-way into the first half. It must have been the easiest United game to watch in quite a while. I certainly cannot remember the last time we took a three goal lead in the Premier League. True to form this season, United still managed to make a 3 goal lead look vulnerable by dropping off the pace in the second half. It was by no means aided by the 3 injuries and substitutions but you'd expect that in the least we keep a clean sheet as we've not been good at that for a while.
Anyhow, Rooney and RVP seemed to find their mojo whilst Adnan Januzaj put on yet another impressive performance that should see him play in the Champions League soon. Sloppy passing in the second half contrived to make the game a little nervy but it's still about the three points given where we are in the league.
I blogged in the preview to the game that the three points would be massive simply because the fixture list dictated that a lot of the teams above us would drop three points. We've therefore done ourselves a massive favour by moving to within 3 points of second placed Chelsea. It means the prize gets even bigger for our next league outing, but more on that later in the week.
In the meantime, we should look to seal Champions League last 16 qualification in Spain this week so as to give the squad a chance to the squad members to per-take the last 2 games of the group stage.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!