Archive for January, 2008
Reading are somewhat of a bogey team for United, compared to most teams that is. Two draws last season- away in the league and at home in the cup- as well as the disappointing result on the first day of this season at home too does not make for an impressive record. But there was also a feeling before this game that United would be flying after the 6-0 thrashing of Newcastle (which I missed due to a poorly scheduled wedding) and also as Reading had so many players away for the African Nations.
United went to Villa Park with a sense of deja vu, having played so often there in the FA Cup. For the current crop of players they could look at 4 ties against Villa in the cup in recent years and the recent 4-1 league victory, as well as several semi finals at Villa Park all of which saw us winning. And for the fans too memories of Cantona’s performance against Chelsea there in the 1996 semi, the epic 1999 battle against Arsenal, as well as the 3-2 comeback against Villa that saw one of van Nistelrooy’s finest performances in a United shirt. But a great track record meant very little going into this game, especially on the back of some less than impressive results and performances over the Christmas period.
To win the league a team has to learn to grind out results, and this was one of the occassions when such a result was required. Most people would have expected an easy win and when United took the lead it seemed that way, but as the game went on and no further goals came a little bit of worry set in. The players seemed as hungover as the supporters for large periods of the match, with the passing as poor as the atmosphere. But the game was settled by a goal of sheer quality with Ronaldo and Tevez combining to produce a beautiful move that will be replayed over and over many times. Read more