Cast your minds back to Saturday March 21 2009. Manchester United have just lost 2-0 away to Fulham, I think we were all surprised but it wasn’t what one would deem unbelievable. Something I did deem unbelievable was the reaction of some fans and pundits after the result. Rewind a week further back and we lay our scene at Old Trafford. A glorious day, particularly for a certain Merseyside club. On the 14 March, Liverpool CRUSHED their bitter title rivals United 4-1, a result which I and many others didn’t see coming . It was a superb victory for Rafa’s men and a humiliating defeat for the perennial Premier League Champions.
Two results, two bad defeats for Manchester United. These two results combined with the six points title rivals Liverpool had picked up meant that United were still clear by a point at the top with a game in hand. This bizarrely seemed to fuel continual discussions that Liverpool had all the momentum and that United had lost their nerve. There was even speculation that United may struggle due to the big games coming up in Europe.
Fast-Forward to the present day, United have won all five of their league games since those two defeats. They sit top of the premier league by three points, still with a game in hand. They also progressed to the Champions League final for the second season in a row after brushing aside Arsenal. OK they lost to Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final – on penalties after fielding a weakened team. No disrespect to Everton, they thoroughly deserved to reach the final. Hardly dark days on the Stretford end though is it?
With the season drawing to a close we are all fully aware Liverpool will be looking at two of United’s results in particular. First is the Manchester derby on City’s home soil. The Second, is against Arsenal on May 16. It is reasonable to perhaps expect a draw at City and that Arsenal will come to Old Trafford obsessed with gaining revenge for their Champions League humiliation. What also is very reasonable is that not only will United brush aside Wigan and Hull at the bare minimum, but it’s quite likely they will take more than a point from the Citizens and the Gunners.
I will be amazed if United do not at the very least take a domestic title (who would bet against United taking seven points from twelve games?) and quite probably retain their European crown. I also thoroughly expect Liverpool to be in the title race to the very last day next year and probably even win it. I am even tempted to put my money where my mouth is on the matter and back Rafa’s Reds for an overdue maiden Premier League crown.
So it appears as the 2009 season heads towards it’s last hurrah this month, those who doubted United will be made to look stupid and I, like many others will still be bored of United dominating English football after so long
One tip I can give any betting man though. You never, EVER write off Manchester United – especially when the pressure is on.