Sir Alex uttered these words after our crazy win against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, and they will forever be a memorial to how crazy this game can be.
After the inquest into how we had performed so poorly against Athletic Bilbao revealed that the gap between us and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona had widened, United looked to show they were still top dogs at home.
The doom and gloom that surround our apparent ‘crisis’ club was lifted with a dominant win over an impressive West Brom side, a win that could have been a lot heavier had we been a bit less wasteful in front of goal.
As seen against Bilbao, Javier Hernandez is still a tad rusty but looks a threat and will certainly add to the 10 goals he already has before the season’s end. David De Gea continues to grow as our number 1 with another competent display. Reliable when called upon and always ready to start an attack with his brilliant distribution, you have to hope that this spell has ended all arguments as to who should be our first choice keeper.
Here are 5 (or more!) thoughts on today’s game:
Ashley Young has come in for some serious stick from our fans this season. Having started the season in blistering form, he allowed his performances to seriously dip. This wasn’t helped by the fact that he had a couple of injuries, but it seems that Young is getting back to his best.
Last weekend his 2 goals were vital to beating Tottenham in a tough game, and today he absolutely slaughtered West Brom from out wide. Ryan Giggs was our man to give defenders ‘twisted blood’, but with his transformation it appears that Young is more than happy to do his best Giggs impression. Tamas, Mulumbu and anyone else who dared venture onto the our left side was tied in knots by Young as well as Evra, who Young often linked up with to cause more mayhem.
This was easily one of Young’s best performances, if not his best and it was an important one too.
In a team sans Nani and Valencia it was vital that he made the difference out wide and what a way to do so. If he can continue in this vein of form, Nani can find his form and Valencia returns playing as well as he was before he got injured then it won’t so much be death from above as death from out wide!
You will know that we are very much fans of Danny Welbeck on this blog and performances like today’s reinforce that. For a man so young his energy, invention, application and general attitude are hard not to admire. The little back-heel to Young in the first half was sumptuous and had it lead to a goal it would have been one of the season’s highlight reel moments.
He was often in the thick of things and playing in a wider position than normal this was impressive. He seems to have everything in abundance, but with that said it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have areas to work on.
Today he should have had at least 1 goal, and the game was a microcosm of him as a player. Whilst already an asset to the team, he needs to work on his composure in front of goal and his finishing. That effort he missed wasn’t the easiest of chances, but he will know himself he should have put it in instead of past Ben Foster’s post.
This isn’t to say he is a poor finisher, but he could do with polishing this part of his game in order to bring it up to the standard of all the other facets of his game. Once he gets it right, he will be a bigger handful than he already is and at just 21, I think he has enough time to do so.
A few weeks ago Wayne Rooney said he feels he has the goals in him to fire United to the title. Although he has been in good goal scoring form this season I assumed this was typical striker talk. But it appears he wasn’t joking. Since saying that at the end of February he has scored 3 in the 2 league games he has played and 5 in total.
Whilst people laud Robin Van Persie for the goals he has scored for Arsenal, Rooney has been silently racking up the goals too and with 27 already on the board he looks set to beat the 34 he scored in 09/10, his best haul so far.
Whilst he may go through spells where he fails to find the back of the net (the longest this season has been 5 games) when he is in form he will get you goals. A fit and in form Rooney was always going to be key to our title hopes and as seen with the two goals he got today, he can be the difference between being champions and runner up.
A usually maligned figure in the United team, even the most ardent Evans bashers must now give him the praise he deserves.
Evans has been very good for large parts of this season, but sadly it will go unnoticed as people insist on holding on to his previous poor form. Today he was head and shoulders our best defender and to be honest he has been our best defender this season too. He has cut out the mistakes that once plagued his game due to lapses of concentration, and as an added bonus his ball playing his improved immensely.
He has always been a decent passer of the ball, but now he carries the ball forward from the back with a confidence that makes building attacks a lot easier especially with De Gea’s brilliant distribution.
This season when journos were writing our obituary, one of the things many pointed too was that we were carrying ‘excess weight’, players that were just along for the ride and not good enough to be at United. Evans was one of the primary figures named, I wonder how many will be willing to hold their hands up and admit they were wrong about him?
This is an extra point but a necessary one.
Last week Sir Alex said it may not even take until April 30th for either United or City to pull clear, and whilst this razor thin lead isn’t exactly us pulling clear, it seems Sir Alex was right.
It appears ‘squeaky bum time’ has started for Man City, and the pressure of leading the pack may have got to them. People always asked how would they deal with the business end of the title chase, giving us the edge as we had been here so many times before whilst they were relatively new to this experience.
After the tough run of games we had in January and February, many said it would be plain sailing for us whilst City had a tough few games before the apparent title decider on April 30th. They have stumbled at the first hurdle and there will be tougher tests to come as well.
The image of that City fan crying after Swansea took the lead today is telling. He appears to have lost faith in his side, realising that his side have let their lead slip and that things may be about to get a lot worse!