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Why Man United Winning the Title This Season Would Be Sir Alex Ferguson’s Best Yet

After watching Sunday’s remarkable clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, I was left in awe at the fighting qualities United have in abundance. For a team minus ten first team regulars including Vidic, Fletcher, Jones, Nani and Smalling, United still managed to display the courage of champions in a sensational second half fight back. Admittedly Chelsea were missing the equivalent of these players through the absence of Terry, Lampard, Drogba and Cole. Yet it was they who contrived to cough up a three goal cushion.

Are United back to their swash buckling best or was this game just a freak occurrence? Throughout the course of the season United have been average at best and the quality of their football has been nowhere in comparison to Tottenham’s refreshing brand of attacking football. Yet to be only two points off City at this stage represents remarkable progress for a team labeled by some critics (you know who are Hansen) as ‘’hopeless.’

The Premier League this season has been one of the most unpredictable in years, but the only constant has been United’s ability to keep in touch at the top while playing well below par. Certainly not in the class of teams of the past, this United team has qualities that other teams simply don’t possess. The desire on the faces of the players during the game at the Bridge even after falling three goals behind was particularly noteworthy and is a reminder to any aspiring teams that self-belief is one of the key characteristics of a winning team.

Not blessed with a Silva or a Bale, United have a team spirit that is second to none. A point agreed by even the most ardent of United fans is that their midfield pales into comparison when looking at either City’s or Spurs midfield personal. Yet, to remain in the midst of an engaging title race is creditworthy and praise must be given to not only the players but also to the manager who clearly understands their limitations and is making the most of the resources at his disposal. Perhaps they won’t come out on top when the trophies are being handed out in May, but you can be certain they will still be a key part of the equation until the dying moments of the season. Football has the ability to amaze and inspire, and after witnessing the comeback from three goals down yesterday, one must surely have been in awe at the never say die attitude on display by all associated with United. That even includes the goalkeeper who arguably produced the stop of the season to deny the magical Mata from delivering the spoils for Chelsea.

As the season enters ‘’squeaky bum time,’’ will the desire needed to be champions be on display against Manchester City and Spurs? Unquestionably the United camp will be immersed in self-belief by this stage, but will the other contenders possess the same attributes. Arguably City have greater resources at their disposal, but will it be United’s belief and refusal to be beaten that will carry the day come May? At present who would back against United — ably assisted by Giggs and Scholes to provide the perfect remedy to City’s riches come May? After watching such an unpredictable season thus far, I for one won’t be writing the men from Old Trafford off.

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  1. Jean

    February 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I’m seeing De Gea improving while I was jumping up and down and yelling at my TV. I think he can really be the icebreaker. As for Sir Alex, I think he should choose one goalie and STICK WITH HIM!!

  2. imran

    February 7, 2012 at 12:36 am

    all these comments have nothing to do with the actual article…

    i agree united has been well below par but their ability to grind out results under less than ideal conditions (injuries, depleted squad, dodgy goalies, etc.) is indeed admirable. i lost count how many times they were written off this season, but here they are only 2 points behind man city at the top. you can never write off man united.

  3. BAM

    February 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Stop crying Chelsea fans, a penalty is a penalty, so stop your whining, you only have yourselves to blame for losing a 3 goal cushion. Seriously, dont you get tired of blaming the refs? 3-3, thats the end result, so take it and move on. you hear me? move on.

  4. jtm371

    February 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    watching the first half yesterday you say no chance watching the second half never say never.if they due pip city for the tittle it would have to be in the top 3 for SAF.the first is always the first last year passing Liverpool but never having a challenge from city for the tittle that would be a long off season if they lose to city.should be fun to watch.

  5. Karl

    February 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    While I’m not discount on MU capabilities and talent I still hard to accept a blatant refereeing inconsistency of most FA’a referees. The FA really need referees from the continent or professional referees under their payroll. Video refereeing also timely to address lack of consistency. The actors play their best to win penalties is a embarrassment. The thing was getting worst when referees seemed afraid of wrath of Sir Alex.

  6. Mufc77

    February 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    You can also argue had utd not lost vidic for the season they wouldn’t have dropped so many points. The big difference is city new all along they would lose Toure for the ANC and could plan ahead.

    Also if i’m not mistaken the ANC is being played again next year as well so it can then be held the same year asbthe world cup starting in 2014, not 100% sure on this but that’s what I was told recently.

    A draw was a fair result on Sunday but I think that makes the Liverpool game a must win for us now which would put more pressure back on city with them still having to play Chelsea, arsenal, Newcastle and utd.

  7. Jason K.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Howard Webb is the most overrated EPL referee and the FA continues to pick him for the big games and he more often than not ends up being the talking point. Not what you want from a game. The problem with Webb is that you never know what he’s going to call as he is so unpredictable not just from game to game but also within the same game itself. That’s why he ends up being the talking point because of his inconsistency.

    Manchester United definitely have the edge in retaining the title as they have been in this position before and know what it takes to win it. Had City not lost Yaya Toure to the African Cup of Nations then I think they would have been clear of United by a wider margin. Makes for an interesting run up to the finish.

  8. Mark

    February 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

    IMO, the ref actually went easy on Chelsea. They were careless and there should have even been a third penalty. At one point, Chelsea’s number 4 was blatantly pushing Rooney when Chelsea had a corner. Ref didn’t even bother to stop play. It’s all good. They each got a point.

  9. ibroUnited

    February 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

    @ up the chels! you don’t know what you’re talking about, ivanovic didn’t foul chicharito for the PK. from that statement alone, your argument is flawed.

    • Up The Chels!

      February 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Then what was the foul for the second PK?

      • Up The Chels!

        February 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Like I said above, I shouldn’t write my posts first thing in the morning. The contact was Welbeck and Ivanovic. My argument still stands even if the actors in my original post were incorrect.

  10. Up The Chels!

    February 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Cahill’s tackle on Walbeck should have been a red card and a penalty. However, the penalty awarded for the “challenge” Ivanovic made against Chicharito was ridiculous. If anything should have been called there it should have been a yellow to Chicharito for simulation. Watching the replay, it is easy to see that Ivanovic was the recipient of Chicharito’s foot landing on top of Ivanovic’s and then Chicharito fell over and won a penalty. Same result, 3-3.

    However, Chelsea were lucky to not have Cahill sent off. The fact still remains that my boys in blue capitulated after having United up against the ropes. Absolutely pathetic display from Chelsea after going up 3-0. This is coming from a die-hard Chelsea fan as well.

    • Up The Chels!

      February 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Sorry, the second penalty was Ivanovic and Welbeck. Shouldn’t write my posts first thing in the morning.

  11. Jean

    February 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    GO MANU!! As the great Dick Enberg would say, “he could go all the way!!!”

  12. The Gaffer

    February 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    If all else fails, blame the referee. Chelsea didn’t win this match not because of Howard Webb, but because they made silly fouls in the penalty box. One of the penalties may have been soft, but it’s still a penalty in the rules of football. Manchester United should have gotten a penalty for Cahill’s tackle on Welbeck. It could have easily ended up 4-3 to Manchester United.

    The Gaffer

    • MNUfan1991

      February 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

      I would think the Cahill tackle would be a free kick at the edge of box, plus a straight red.
      I’d take that combo over a garden-variety penalty any day.

      • The Gaffer

        February 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

        The foul began outside the box but continued into the penalty area, so it should have been a penalty and red card.

        The Gaffer

        • MNUfan1991

          February 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

          That would have been nice, but the ABU brigade would blow a gasket.
          For their sake, I’d settle for a FK and a red. See, I’m fair and balanced 🙂

        • Why?

          February 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

          Gaffer he wasn’t pulling a shirt or leaning into him so it couldn’t of ‘carried on into the box’ the foul is from where it happened you can’t keep tripping someone up can you? So the fact Welbeck falls into the box in neither here or there. From the ref’s view it would have been impossible to give anyway as it looked like Cahill played the ball, this isn’t even that clear if he did or didn’t on the replays so not an easy call for him. As for it being a sending off if it was a foul, not at all as Welbeck knocked the ball away from goal this being the key so would not have had a goal scoring opportunity which is what he would get sent off for denying there is no such thing as being the ‘last man’. The first penalty was clear Evra played for it, invited the tackle and got it 100% penalty. The second well it just wasn’t was it, but again from the Ref’s view it may have looked that way to be fair. SAF comments on the linesman were again way out of order and I do not know how he gets away with that sort of thing but he does. All in all a fair result Chelsea may feel a bit hard done by with the second penalty but if you can’t defend a 3-0 lead at home then there is more than something wrong, it should have been plain sailing for Chelsea but they messed up big time.

        • Guy

          February 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

          Gaffer, can you (or any reader) cite some source for such a “continuation” ruling? I can find nothing other than that the location where the foul is originally committed determines whether a penalty is awarded. I have been out of reffing for many years, so certainly don’t claim any expertise about such a call.

      • MNUfan1991

        February 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

        On second thought, a plain-Jane PK is better for Chelsea than a red for Cahill.
        See, if Cahill’s off they would have to sub out a striker, which would most likely be Torres.
        Not having Torres on your team is like playing with 12 men. So, in this regard, Webb is really biased for United. Maybe the ABU brigade is right all along 🙂

  13. FCAsheville

    February 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Only if Howard Webb gets assigned to all their games!

    • bayou

      February 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

      You beat me to it.
      How that man can continually referee Man U games is beyond me.
      His bias is as clear as his head is bald.
      I believe he awards Man U at least one PK every match of theirs he refs. I’ve tried finding statistics to back that up, but no one keeps track of that sort of thing. But I know that every Man U match I’ve watched him ref, he’s awarded them at least one PK, sometimes two if they’re down by two.

      • Howie

        February 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

        17% of penalties I awarded have been to United, well below the 20% I have in my contract with Mr Fergie. People on twitter were tweeting the FA with this stat but it’s the FA, they love me.

      • S04th

        February 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

        Webb has officiated four matches with Man U this season. Two of the four have involved MU PKs. Two in the game Saturday and one in the thrashing MU gave Arsenal back in August. He did not award any PKs in the MU win over QPR in December or the loss to Newcastle in January. Last season he awarded MU one PK in four matches officiated.

        Stats from:

        • The Gaffer

          February 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

          It’s another case of Howard Webb being made a scapegoat, unfortunately.

          The Gaffer

          • Guy

            February 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

            But perception is so much more fun than reality! 😉

        • FCAsheville

          February 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

          How about the ridiculous straight red for Gerrard in the FA Cup against United? Webb is extremely overrated and should not be getting all the major international assignments.

          How can anyone forget the De Jong drop kick on Alonso in the WC final?!! He’s just not a very good ref.

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