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West Brom 0 United 5

Every season there is one game that turns out to be a great night away from home. This season so far that night was West Brom, as United spanked the home side scoring five and turning on the style. All season the worry so far has been that we are not converting chances but those who said the goals were bound to come in abundance were finally proved right at the Hawthorns. United absolutely hammered the home team and the score line was not even especially flattering. It was victory that must have shaken Benitez to the core and one that had the away end buzzing.

The result on Saturday against Spurs (apologies for lack of match report, I only just remembered!) will have done the confidence of the team wonders. The moment of class in which Carrick played in Berbatov for the second goal had Old Trafford absolutely gobsmacked. That confidence came down the M6 on the United bus, even if the bus was close to not making kick off. It does not take a genius to know that rush hour traffic in the Midlands plus West Brom and Birmingham both playing at home plus United in town would cause problems. Through in accidents on the M1 and the M6 and you can understand why five minutes before kick off we were not even close to parking and had barely moved forwards in half an hour. Luckily kick off was delayed 30 minutes and we just about had time to double park and get into the ground on time.

The game was fantastic from the start. West Brom will be gutted looking at the score line, but to their credit they tried to have a go at us, played some good football and had a few half chances in the first fifteen minutes. But slowly United turned the screw and started to create chances, eventually leading the opener from Berbatov. Dimitar has become a very different player in recent weeks and orchestrated the move from start to finish. It was a great example of how to play penetrative football in tight spaces and it sent the away end into full song. But West Brom were not going to lie down that easily and continued to have go at us for a brief while, before the game was turned by a red card to Paul Robinson. The decision may have been harsh but he showed his studs and Park was genuinely hurt. The home fans were incensed and seemed to take a whole season’s frustration of being bottom out on the ref. Minutes later their keeper made an absolute howler and handed Tevez a tap in to effectively kill the game. The half time whistle sounded and the ref left the pitch as the centre of attention, but our lot in the away end were too busy singing and smiling to care.

As the second half kicked off we knew the game was won already. “Are you watching Merseyside” and “Top of the league, and that’s a fact” echoed from the United end hoping both Rafa and scousers up and down the land were watching on dodgy satellite feeds. I turned to a mate and said I wanted two things in this half- a goal in front of us and to keep a clean sheet and break the defensive record. It didn’t take long for the first wish to come true, Vidic’s fantastic header wrapped up the game and he cross from Giggs also summed up another awesome performance from the veteran Welshman. Giggs seems to have lost 5 years this season and is terrorising teams in a way we have not seen him do so regularly for a long time. It is a testament to his commitment, professionalism and genius that he has kept up this level of impact.

But United were not happy to slow the game down and save energy for the weekend, they were in the mood to turn on the style. And that they did. Two more goals game both thanks to Ronaldo, but the standard of football was fantastic. Every attack looked promising and West Brom were swept aside. Several great chances were missed and the score could have been a lot worse for the home team, but we were happy with 5 and the atmosphere behind the goal was fantastic. The final whistle sounded and we headed off home, delighted at the impressive display we had just seen.

This game had so many positives to take from it. Firstly, the fact we scored 5 goals will do so much good for the confidence of our foward line. Berbatov is improving with every game, Tevez was superb and Ronaldo netted two well needed goals. The introduction of Tosic near the end was also great to see, and one touch in particular will not be forgotten in a hurry by anyone that saw it. Furthermore, players are now starting to return from injury and Rio and Wes both made it through this game unscathed. Evra should now be back for the weekend and others are getting there too, when Rooney is back our options will be fantastic. And last but not least, special mention has to be given to the defensive records broken last night, both by United as a team and by VDS in goal. For a team of such fantastic attacking strength who are known around the world for providing great entertainment, it is reassuring to know that we have such strength at the back too. It says it all that Vidic is on course to be our player of the season.

And so this was another great night out watching United. Between the game and writing Liverpool have done us another favour by drawing at Wigan and have given us clear daylight at the top. A win over Everton at the weekend would be a big nail in the coffin for many, not because of the league table but because Rafa really is cracking up.

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