United's Perfect Day
A 93rd minute winner at the home of your fierce rivals is one of football's great pleasures. And if it is compounded by the league leaders suffering a shock defeat then it is a perfect day.
This is what United got today, having defeated City before Spurs beat Chelsea 2-1. The gap is down to one point although I'm still not sure if there is a title race. But more about that later.
First, I have to acknowledge that we played reasonably well, if without creativity, at Eastlands. We were in control for most of the game, despite the total lack of impact by Ryan Giggs and the absence of Rio Ferdinand who got injured again.
United's best player, arguably, was an 'oldie': Paul Scholes rolled back the years with a fine display though he was greatly aided by City's lack of midfield pressing. But that in itself was not enough for his colleague Giggs to exert any influence on the game...
Apart from Scholes, Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic were both flawless, neutralising Carlos Tevez who demonstrated all his limitations flawlessly. Adebayor and Bellamy were both ineffective while the midfield three of Gibson, Scholes and Fletcher kept things together in the middle of the park.
However, we had no left flank thanks to Giggs and the returning Rooney was often hopelessly isolated in the middle. Yet we had enough chances in the first half to take a comfortable lead, though we missed them all.
In the second half we were a bit more disjointed and had fewer chances but Citeh offered nothing whatsoever, they were turgid and awful. No penetration, no creativity, no proper passing - they were dire. But we lacked impetus to punish them for their slackness and the game seemed to be heading for a nice little draw...
Then Evra popped up on the left, sent in a perfect cross and Scholes headed home from near the penalty spot. Brilliantly executed header and the United players went berserk, just as the fans did. I wrote yesterday about this being a chance to lift the gloom - well, it certainly did the trick, that much was obvious.
With Chelsea losing, this has been the perfect day. And now I'm starting to become pissed that we could only draw at Blackburn.