As Manchester United dropped points against Newcastle last night there was a sense of dread as what could have been a 9 point gap became just 7, with that possibly cut to 4 if Arsenal manage to beat Spurs tonight.
Following Arsenal’s late capitulation against Liverpool on Sunday, there was an optimism in regards to the league, heightened by the fact we needed a ‘pick me up’ following our result against Man City the previous day. The hope had been that we would get the defeat out of our heads and get back to winning ways in the league as our dreams of a treble had gone but a double was still on the cards.
The reality was a little different.
Whilst United can feel that over the 90 minutes they did enough to win the game, the performance wasn’t a particularly memorable one and Newcastle could have made their fast start count and punished us. The ref for me got both penalty decisions wrong but even that wouldn’t have made a difference to what was a stale performance.
We lacked urgency and in honesty at this late stage of the season it appears fatigue has begun to creep in as the games have piled up. We played on Saturday whilst Newcastle hadn’t played since the 10th so it was obvious that they would be the fresher and it is something that Sir Alex will have thought of as he spoke of trying to freshen things up by bringing in new faces but we still looked devoid of ideas for large parts of the game. Following the game Sir Alex made an extremely poignant point about the title race. Time is running out.
When Sir Alex commented,
“I’m confident we’ll be fine now as that was a hard one to get over.
“At this stage of the season, we’re in a better position than we were on Saturday as there’s one less game and five games left.”
I can’t be the only person that saw it in a ‘catch us if you can’ way.
Sir Alex is right in that the clock is ticking for our opponents to get on par with us. As the game are ticked off and we maintain a lead at the top of the table, the likelihood that we are crowned champions in May grows and grows but this isn’t rocket science. If the team is tired as the games whittle away the less games there are the greater chance there is we can limp over the finishing line rather than being pipped at the post.
The title race is by no means a done deal, I personally think that tonight’s game with Spurs will throw up a surprise or two and Arsenal still have games away against the likes of Stoke and Bolton whilst United face tricky games against Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea. The fact we also have the Champions League to focus on may also work against us but like Sir Alex said the games are disappearing quickly and we still remain top with such a sizeable gap we are in pole position.
If we can keep our heads, stay the course and keep racking up points regardless of what Arsenal or Chelsea do we will come out on top.