Date:Monday February 25 2008
Darren Fletcher is perhaps not an expert in psychology but he's got some ideas about how certain results effect certain teams.
The Scottish midfielder fought his way back into contention with a magnificent display against Arsenal in the FA Cup and was rewarded with a league start yesterday and did not disappoint. He believes that United have now the edge in the title race as Arsenal dropped two points at Birmingham City and are still due to visit Old Trafford where they were thrashed a week ago.
"The title race was open even before today," he told MUTV. "We know Arsenal have still got to come to Old Trafford too.
"But that result last week maybe had a little psychological edge. We went out there and played fantastically against Arsenal and managed to win convincingly, and they`ve not won since.
"It`s getting to the nitty-gritty now, we`ve been there last season and we know what it`s about. We`re hoping to push on and keep winning every game now until the end of the season - that`s the target."
The thing is that with Arsenal out of the FA Cup and their Champions League chances severely reduced by their inability to break down at the Emirates, they are in grave need of maintaining their good league form - and as they failed to beat a side that played the whole game with virtually ten men does not bode well when United appear to have left their recent poor form behind.
And at such a time one might question the wisdom of appointing Gallas as captain. His shameful (and, to be honest, hilarious) tantrum on Saturday when a penalty was awarded against the Gooners showed that his leadership is very far from being exemplary. Sulking on the pitch like a 10-year-old until eventually his manager drags him off, berating a devastated guy on the pitch, in front of everyone, for a mistake - these are not the traits of a true captain.
Could it be that Gallas, along with his teammates, is cracking under pressure? Now I know that he must have been distracted by that horrific injury. But isn't it true that in such times a skipper has to stand up and rally the troops, to inject a bit of calm, to make his presence felt? I think that would be his job and he failed, emphatically. So, you guys in red shirt - Arsenal are there for the taking, we just have to ensure we do not drop silly points by playing as unacceptably as we did against City...
Date:Monday February 25 2008
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