It's been a while since it felt like this as a United fan. Understandably so perhaps because in the period since Sir Alex hung up his chewing gum todate, Manchester United have not managed to string together 5 straight league wins. The next 13 days of premier league football however offer a feasible opportunity at addressing that trend.
Whereas Southampton away on Monday Night Football a week on is not quite the straight forward fixture, United have an opportunity to make it four wins on the bounce with two fixtures at home in quick succession against the two cities of Hull and Stoke respectively and hence equal their best run under David Moyes.
In what has so far been a bumpy season, United have fared better at home than away. Indeed, last week's Italian job at the Emirates was our first away from the M16 this term.
Granted therefore that United should pick up the next 6 points available and hence cement their status as a Top 4 side. Not quite as easy it sounds. The premier league is notorious with sides that always fancy their chances at ripping up scripts and producing results against the odds. The new found resolve in the side, you hope, will awaken the players to the reality of a job to do first on Saturday and then on Tuesday night.
It is slowly eating into the minds of everyone that cares to know that United are in fact up for the battle to restore their status as a Champions League side. And why not given their position after a lacklustre start. Having negotiated fixtures against Chelsea, City and Arsenal with 4 points, the onus is now on United to prove that they justified their performance in those games by going on a run of wins between now and the visist from Liverpool in December.
The need for that run is underlined by the fact that so far, no side has been able to keep 4th place two weeks running. The topsy turvy nature of the league has ensured that. Arsenal, in 8th place are just two points behind us in 4th. That in itself speaks of a need to pull away from the black hole that is midtable so as to give ourselves a cushion for the festive marathon when more often than not the league table starts to take its final shape.
We've not dropped a point to Hull in all our 6 games against them in the league. They'll no doubt keep many behind the ball and look to hit us on the break. It worked for them at the Emirates. United must therefore keep a shape about them as they search for goals. We were let off against Crystal Palace when Fraizer Campbell dinked it over De Gea but you can't always be lucky.
Luke Shaw joined the list of long term absentees so it will be interesting to see whether the manager addresses that problem with Ashely Young as a wing baxk or simply ask Blackett to slot into left back.
I'd like for the Spaniard duo of Mata and Herrera ro start not least because when you are seeking to score against a side with plenty behind the ball, you need the genuis of their kind to pick out the passes that matter. It's the problem we faced against Crystal Palace a couple of weeks ago until Mata came on.
Whichever the case, the players selected tomorrow know the expecations are slowly creeping back into the stands and 76,000 will expect nothing less than 3 points tomorrow.
As usual, I'll be biting my nails until full time.