Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's time for United to raise their game as business end of the season approaches...

United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday for what is being billed as a "must win" game for both clubs. Liverpool haven't really been serious contenders for the title all season, they will do well to finish in the top four, such has been their fall from grace in the hitherto accepted top four.

It's going to be a three-way fight for the title between the Red Devils, Chelsea and the dark horses that are Arsenal. The champions cannot really afford to drop any points between now and the season end and they will be keen to avenge last season's 1-4 humiliation when Liverpool murdered United.

As ever, the form book pretty much goes out of the window on these occasions; it was the same last season when most were punting a United win, but Fernando Torres ensured a thumping unexpected victory for the Merseyside club.

Amazingly, Vidic has been sent-off in the last three fixtures with Liverpool - no wonder Ferguson has been carping to the press about Steven Gerrard getting away with several high-profile indiscretions of late. The Liverpool skipper was caught cuffing Portsmouth's Mick Brown in Monday night's Premier League clash at Anfield; the referee saw the incident (bottled it) and did nothing...

In the pre-match build up to the clash with Liverpool, Fergie went on the attack when claiming the FA's disciplinary panel needs sacking and he went on to compare the treatment they dished out to Rio Ferdinand who recently received a four game ban for raising his arms and catching an opponent. On this occasion, many in the media are in agreement with the United manager, there is NO consistency.

Poor officialdom aside, it is to hoped United don't need the help of the referee to win today's Premier League encounter.

United are in good form, last weekend they avenged Fulham's three nil win at Craven Cottage, by inflicting the same result on the West London club when they visited Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney was once again on target and he'll be looking to add to his tally against Liverpool, but for some reason he doesn't usually do well against them in front of goal.

It remains be seen if Rooney can keep his blistering goal scoring form going until the end of the season, but with United relying on Rooney and Berbatov it's a tall order, especially with the club still involved in the Champions League in which they've been drawn against Bayern Munich.

Despite winning that never to be forgotten 1999 epic final, the Bavarian club are one of United's bogey sides. The Bayern quarter final is going to be much tougher than some are predicting, but having avoided the really big guns in the other half of the draw, United have a decent shout of making the final again.

Looking beyond to the World Cup, it is simply inconceivable that Rooney will be capable of carrying both club and country to their ultimate goals.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, United are going to need a bit of luck along with the way; we need to keep everyone fit and suspension free and then we can give ourselves a decent chance. There's no better place to start than against Liverpool today at Old Trafford; no slip-ups please and we need everyone to raise their game.

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