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United 2 Blackburn 0

Let’s be honest, a 2-0 victory against Barnsley did not do much to cheer up United supporters 48 hours after the torture that was Anfield. That result still haunts me and whilst many United fans celebrated their exit from the Carling Cup and loss to Fulham in the league, all it did was annoy me more that everyone can finish them off except us. Maybe they are just a second rate team who cheat their manager by only turning it on in the big games against the likes of United and Real Madrid, but we should have ended their season last week and we failed to. However, that is the past and the best way I can be cheered up after that result is to get back to believing we will win the title in spite of that loss. I personally think Chelsea will win it, and that Joe Cole and Anelka will get them through the African Nations period, but that does not mean I have written us off and am not hoping and cheering towards each and every point. And that is why the Blackburn game was so tense- we HAD to win after the slip at Anfield. Yet Blackburn are well organised, we had a makeshift defence, and the pressure of not winning was clear for all to see- with Stamford Bridge on the horizon and rumours of a longer term injury to Rio.

United passed the ball about well in the first half but rarely tested Robinson. Berbatov was lively but not deadly in front of goal, while Rooney was out the game and frustrated. At the back the absence of Rio and Vidic made little difference as Blackburn had every man behind the ball, but still O’Shea refused to get forward and give Valencia another option. At half time it was quite worrying- United looked a little tense and Blackburn were looking solid at the back.

The second half was a big improvement. Berbatov’s moment of genius to open the scoring calmed the nerves, and United’s passing then seemed to click. Anderson and Carrick had energy in midfield, and Evra was bombing foward on the left. The introduction of Obertan for Nani helped too- the debutant may have missed a sitter but did offer a real threat and seemed to terrify the defence. The clock ticked down and Rooney killed the game off with a wonderful finish to keep the points secure.

This was a rather unmemorable game. A flat atmosphere, an away team that offered little threat, United looking a bit nervy but in the end the job was done. Chelsea, however, will prove a far trickier prospect.   

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