The Biggest Week Of United's Season
I missed the Bolton game and haven't got around to watch it yet - horror of horrors, this is the first United game I have missed entirely since we beat Reading 3-2 in December 2006.
Having watched the highlights it seemed that Nani maintained his wonderful form - two brilliant assists and he set up Giggs before the first goal as well. Own Goal is still going strong, he's into double figures for the season - a top quality player, no doubt.
Berbatov showed some predatory instinct at last and his stats paint a picture of a good season: 12 league goals in 19 starts - he's no good as an impact substitute, apparently. The rosy picture is somewhat skewed by the fact that he's regularly omitted from the biggest games but at least he's a fairly consistent goalscorer in the league, if only against the lesser lights.
And of course Vidic is brilliant, having enjoyed a fantastic game against the bruising bullies of Bolton who had the temerity to complain when an entirely accidental elbow caught Elmander in the head. The FA, amazingly, did not charge him, finally showing a little consistency in decision-making.
With Chelsea hitting seven, the pressure was on us to perform but hitting four at Bolton without Rooney and Ferdinand showed our mental strength while Arsenal, predictably enough, choked. This sets up the biggest week of the season nicely: United visit Bayern Munich today and host Chelsea on the Saturday, in a season-defining few days.
A good result in Munich would put us on the brink of the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth successive year, a pretty incredible achievement. But that would be dwarfed by a fourth consecutive league title and we would take a massive step towards that by beating Chelsea on Saturday, thus opening up a four-point gap with only five games to go.
Easier said than done though as they seemingly found some form even if I accept that beating an effectively relegated Portsmouth and an exhausted, mentally and physically shattered Aston Villa is somewhat different to trying to get a result at Old Trafford. But they have a whole week for preparations, they can focus on this game entirely while we have a massive distraction in the shape of Bayern.
A draw on Saturday would be fine for me, in all honesty as a defeat could be disastrous and they will be well up for it while we have to juggle our energies to dispose of Bayern as well. Of course, one could argue that the sheer momentum gained by getting a good result in Munich could yield a victory against Chelsea as well.
One thing is certain, though: we have six games to go in the league. Five wins and a draw would give us the title and it's certainly not an impossible feat, even if very difficult, considering the opponents we have to face. But if we're ahead of Chelsea after Saturday's game, we have every chance of doing it: we'll have to visit City and host Spurs but they go to White Hart Lane and Anfield and have as much chance of dropping points as we have.
As for tonight's game: more about that in another article.