Date:Monday May 5 2008
After losing at Chelsea due to the linesman and Shevchenko's goalline clearance, I said we only need to win the next four games to make the season a perfect one despite recent setbacks. Half of the job done.
Apologies for the lack of updates guys, my internet connection simply disappeared on Saturday morning and whatever I did or whoever I phoned it did not come back until this afternoon.
It doesn't matter though: the most important is that United beat West Ham comprehensively. The same team that started against Barcelona did the job within 25 minutes and even the sending off of Nani did not influence the outcome.
Park, Ronaldo and Tevez caused all sorts of problems for West Ham throughout the afternoon with the Portuguese especially on the top of his game. His first goal was brilliant, the second was fortunate but he scared the hell out of West Ham's makeshift backline every time touched the ball.
It was hilarious to see Scholes being encouraged to SHOOOT every time he touched the ball, even when he was clearly not in a good position to do that. The atmosphere inside Old Trafford had a celebratory look: the Stretford End was buoyant after the win over Barcelona and they channeled their happiness into singing.
Dean Ashton's goal was of real quality, no surprise that the whole stadium was applauding it. It must be mentioned that Brown committed his only mistake of the afternoon before the goal, otherwise he was as composed as against Barcelona.
Back to Ashton: he took his goal wonderfully, no doubt. He's been linked with United recently - I'm still not convinced he is a Red material but would not commit suicide if he joined us. Being English his price would probably be ridiculously over-inflated but we'll see.
The madness of Nani threatened to undo all the brilliant job that the other players have done (the Portuguese himself did not contribute much top be honest) but my first thought was about how on Earth did Neill escape without getting at least a yellow? Nani deserved to be sent off but it was obvious that the Australian was provoking him and he was heartily booed all afternoon following the incident.
In the second half you could be forgiven if you forgot we were playing with ten men: there was a confidence about United, we looked like a team that was not to be denied. West Ham had some pretty attacks but overall they looked like exactly what they are: a mid-table side with nothing to play for. They were quickly torn apart by Ronaldo and Tevez, both in rampant mood and settled for a friendly kickabout even after the red card.
After all the talk of United slowing down it was a timely reminder that when we are still a deadly team, with brilliant players. A return to our best form? Not sure but the cameo of Ryan Giggs was very encouraging: if he who was far from his best this season could churn out such a performance - confident, precise passing, good tricks and a demonstration of hitherto unseen heading ability as he won a lot of headers to flick the ball on to Tevez - then the others, who were on top of their game, can keep up the form they showed on Saturday for the last two games.
Chelsea of course won at Newcastle but that's not unexpected. I was hoping that Keegan's side could nick something but no complaints: if we win at Wigan, we are champions again. If we don't do that, we'll have only ourselves to blame - though the refereeing of recent weeks clearly contributed to making this season's finale such an exciting one.
Wigan, like West Ham or Newcastle, have nothing to play for and Steve Bruce will not be too keen on denying United the title. I fear Antonio Valencia and Wilson Palacios, especially the former who's in great form: they were linked with United and will strive to show that they are worthy of such speculation. They will want to put on a big display in their last home game of the season but with nothing to play for, they should not be able to deny the Red machine if we turn up being fully focused.
And after that final game, and hopefully a bit of celebrations: follow, follow, follow, cause United are going to Moscow!
Date:Monday May 5 2008
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|Man Utd||3||-||0||Hull City|
|Man Utd||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|2. Man City||16||11||3||2||+19||36|
|3. Man Utd||16||9||4||3||+12||31|
|4. West Ham||16||8||4||4||+8||28|
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