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The Reds Are Marching On Steadily….

On a weekend, where the entire football world and m

ore witnessed a very sad and sickening scene in Italy as Livorno’s Pierpaolo Morosini tried to stay on his feet as he battled a cardiac arrest before succumbing to a tragic death on the way to hospital. What makes it more tragic was his background and how he kept fighting on and playing with a smile inspite of the various tragedies in his family. Morosini passed away at a young age of 25, three years younger than me. Our thoughts should go out to him as it were for everyone at Old Trafford where a minute’s silence was held in his memory before Manchester United’s match against Aston Villa.

However life goes on and it doesn’t stop for anyone as much as we would want it to stop for us at times. Football will be played and in loving memory of all those who lost their lives either watching or playing football. United had a very important task at hand at the start of the game. They needed three points to extend the lead over Manchester City back to five points. Our neighbours had already got three points the day before with an unexpected, emphatic win against Norwich City at Carrow Road. United were coming into the game having lost the previous match away at Wigan Athletic in midweek to cut an eight point gap back to five and at kick-off, the lead was down to two points. How would United react? Will there be some jitters and nerves on display? Surely not, we have enough experience in the ranks to see it through but they are human after all and football is a strange game. Anything can happen as it was evident at the DW Stadium on Wednesday.

United got off to a bright and sharp start and got an early penalty. The decision was controversial. The man that was deemed to have been fouled was Ashley Young and once again, I would say that it was a soft penalty and we were fortunate to get it. Young did make the most of it but the referee was just inches away and if you take a look at the replay you would notice that he was watching every single second of the action closely before awarding a penalty in United’s favour. The decision was entirely the referee’s as he made an instantaneous decision to award United a penalty. It was soft and the fall was exaggerated but the decision was the referee’s, not that of the manager or the players. It was a decision that went our way and we took it once again to take the lead. We eventually trashed Villa 4-0 and on the evidence of the display, once again like I have said at the end of the Queen’s Park Rangers match, United would have won even without the help of the referee.

United’s attacking play especially in the first half was very good; one-touch, two touch passing, a threat down the flanks. Villa defended stoutly as they repelled crosses and put in brave blocks to prevent United extending the lead. United didn’t help either as they got the final ball wrong on some occasions but the play was impressive as Villa hardly had much of a chance at the United goal. United finally extended the lead near the end of the first half when a cross by Patrice Evra was slid in at the far post by Danny Welbeck after the cross was surprisingly not dealt with by the impressive, heroic centre-back duo of James Collins and Nathan Baker. The second goal gave United a high lift but the second half was rather slack as passes were being misplaced and the crowd started getting frustrated with every misplaced pass.

Wayne Rooney got the third albeit from a deflection and he got two in total but he was one player who was playing below-par and bore the brunt of the crowd’s frustration with perhaps an overspill from his poor performance at Wigan in midweek too. His second goal saw the end of his participation and the entry of the forgotten Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov. Another player who has been missing for a long time, Nani had made his entry into the fray for Young after an hour of action. The Portuguese winger didn’t have much to do in the match until he rounded off a wonderful move to grab United’s fourth from an assist by the renaissance man, Jonny Evans. 4-0 to United, 4 games to go with a 5 points lead. Slowly as the weeks go by, matches are chalked off and we are getting ever closer to the 20th league title. Next up is the in-form Everton who would be reeling from the disappointment of losing to their neighbours and our mutual enemy, Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final. They would certainly not be a pushover inspite of consisting of some ex Red-Devils, who might want to see United win the league, in their ranks.

Wayne Rooney got the third albeit from a deflection and he got two in total but he was one player who was playing below-par and bore the brunt of the crowd’s frustration with perhaps an overspill from his poor performance at Wigan in midweek too. His second goal saw the end of his participation and the entry of the forgotten Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov. Another player who has been missing for a long time, Nani had made his entry into the fray for Young after an hour of action. The Portuguese winger didn’t have much to do in the match until he rounded off a wonderful move to grab United’s fourth from an assist by the renaissance man, Jonny Evans. 4-0 to United, 4 games to go with a 5 points lead. Slowly as the weeks go by, matches are chalked off and we are getting ever closer to the 20th league title. Next up is the in-form Everton who would be reeling from the disappointment of losing to their neighbours and our mutual enemy, Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final. They would certainly not be a pushover inspite of consisting of some ex Red-Devils, who might want to see United win the league, in their ranks.

Not much change is needed to be made to the starting line-up seeing that we have a week before the next match and no midweek commitment elsewhere. If there is something that needs changing, that would be the consistency of the intensity of the play and some of the final ball to the strikers. However, if United play as well as they did yesterday, that should be suffice for us to beat the Evertonians. In his post-match conference, Sir Alex Ferguson had said that Rooney needs to play on the edge to get the best out of him which was why he was substituted. The striker did admit that it wasn’t his best performance inspite of getting two goals. There is perhaps no better team for him to play against to get the best out of him again. It would be a good dress-rehearsal for our top scorer ahead of the big clash against Manchester City a week after at the Etihad Stadium.

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