Nani Has Emerged As A Genuine Match-Winner
United beat Spurs 3-1 and suddenly the pressure is on Chelsea who play twice before we take the field again. And though it was Ryan Giggs who scored a brace, no one can dispute that the match-winner was Nani this time around.
United, for long periods of the game, looked short of inspiration. The papers usually attribute it to Rooney's absence but the careless mistakes and sloppy passing isn't something that Rooney's presence could cure.
OK, we were also indecisive and too 'tippy-tappy' around the box which is where Rooney would have been in his element while Berbatov, once again, failed to really live up to the expectations. Giggs was anonymous - apart from the penalties - so we needed something special after Ledley King, clearly fouling Carrick in the process, equalised with a header.
And Nani provided it. Credit must to go to Fletcher who brought the ball out of a difficult situation near the touchline and of course to substitute Macheda who released Nani with a perfectly weighted pass. But it was the Portuguese who did the most of the work, dinking the ball over the advancing Gomes with ample confidence. And that's with 10 minutes left of a game which could have killed off the remnants of our faint title hopes.
'It was a great ball from Federico and Nani needed audacity and courage to chip the keeper from such a tight angle,' said Ferguson.
'Not many players would have even tried that.'
Minutes later he charged forward, beat Palacios for pace and the midfielder, filling in at right-back by that time, jumped on him from behind (eurgh) and pushed him to the ground. Clear penalty, again, and Giggs put it away perfectly, again.
We are top, and we are indebted to Nani whose transformation this season has been nothing short of amazing. In December I would have gladly agreed to sell him at the end of the season, such was the hopelessness of his performances. But since being recalled after an injury, which may or may not have been real, he hasn't stopped impressing. He was the match-winner at the Emirates, he scored a brace and was a real threat against Bayern, his assist brought us back into the game against Chelsea, he impressed against Citeh in the Carling Cup semi-final. And now this. He regularly produces very good performances in the biggest games which is the mark of greatness. Let's hope it's not a flash in the pan.