Date:Wednesday May 13 2009
One point. One insignificant little point away from winning the third successive Premier League title. And that is a point we can get against Arsenal, at home. Does life get any better?
It might do, in Rome, but never mind that now, my mind is still full of Wigan even though the two places can't be really compared, can they? It was sweet, it was brilliant, it was wonderful, no matter how you look at it.
OK, one might say that United were far from their best and one would be right. In the first half we missed unmissable chances, lacked the bite in midfield - Anderson in an advanced role just doesn't seem to be such a good idea - and Ronaldo was just about terrible.
Credit to Wigan, they did very, very well: Rodallega and Valencia were threatening, Cattermole and Brown totally dominated the midfield with their physical approach. They denied us the space we thrive on, their approach play was neat and they even created chances.
Still, their goal was of comedy value - both Vidic and Rodallega were looking for the ball desperately, it would have been amusing if... - and United should have been in front by then but Rooney headed wide when it was easier to score and Carrick also spurned a golden opportunity.
Seemingly not much changed for the second half, Fergie tried Anderson on the left - it worked no more than playing him off the main striker so he was substituted with 58 minutes gone, Carlos Tevez coming on.
And boy he made an impact. These last two games he once again looked like a quality striker you must admit. The way he backheeled home Carrick's miscued shot was just brilliant, if Ronaldo had done it we would be eulogising it for weeks - still, we can do it now!
From that point onwards, United never looked like losing. Wigan's energy levels were soon gone, they were chasing the ball with desperation, hardly able to move out of their half. Quite simply the dictated a tempo in the first 60 minutes which they simply could not keep up.
Still, United missed chances and indeed found it hard to fashion clear-cut chances. They threw bodies on the line, we tended to overcomplicate things - but there were chances. Rooney had one of those days though and Ronaldo did not improve after his woeful first half - if anything, he got worse.
But the travelling fans were in full voice, the atmosphere was cracking and you could sense a goal was coming as United simply camped in Wigan's half of the pitch. And the goal, when it came, was definitely worth the wait: Ronaldo (!!) and O'Shea worked well down the right, the Irishman pulling it back to Carrick. Before he fired the trigger, Berbatov drew one man away with a clever run and Carrick, using the space thus opened up for him, majestically fired into the far corner with his left.
Game, set, match and one must think, championship. Ronaldo missed a sitter and there was one sticky moment after a free-kick (it was our SECOND foul of the game, in 93 minutes...) was launched into the box but we withstood it and claimed the three points.
Another comeback, once again, great mental strength shown - and again, a substitution changed the game. That's why we're champions - there's always someone to pull the team out of trouble.
Remember: ONE POINT. Only one.
Date:Wednesday May 13 2009
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