Thursday, February 19, 2009

Scholes back to his brilliant best: Can United get even better?

Fulham became the fourteenth Premier League club to try and then fail to score against the champions last night as the Reds ran out comfortable three-nil winners, courtesy of goals by Scholes, Berbatov and Rooney.

The result means that United now have a five-point lead at the top of the table and with Blackburn set to visit Old Trafford before second placed Liverpool play on Sunday there could be even more pressure on the Merseyside club if United can take all three points from the Rovers game on Saturday evening.

Earlier this week I stated that it doesn't seem to matter who Fergie selects in his starting eleven; the team continues to perform and produce results. Over the last few weeks we United fans have marvelled at the performances of Ryan Giggs who has been a revelation - so much so that even former Liverpool captain Alan Hansen has tipped the Welshman to win the player of the year award.

Against Fulham it was the turn of Paul Scholes who was the driving force and arch schemer behind many of United's best attacking moves. Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal will no doubt have nightmares about his poor performance on the night, but nothing should be taken away from Scholes who opened the scoring from a well rehearsed corner routine as he lashed the ball goalwards from the edge of the box. The Fulham stopper was no doubt deceived by the flight of the ball as it dipped and curled one way and then the other - those were the mitigating circumstances which led to the Australian allowing the ball slip beyond his despairing grasp. Yes, Schwarzer should have done better, but instead of castigating him let us heap praise on Scholes; like Ryan Giggs he continues to defy the years when giving match winning performances.

Over the last few weeks United have had their share of injury problems, added to which the FA came down hard on Patrice Evra when banning him for four games following a ruck with a member of the "Chelsea ground-staff" last April. The punishment dished out by the FA still rankles Fergie; it was totally over-the-top given the incident took place after the game in which the Frenchman didn't even take part.

Throughout what has been a difficult period, Fergie has been able to call upon the likes of Scholes and Giggs, they have been integral in several games when playing their part along with the rest of what is a superb squad.

I don't know if I'm on own in thinking that everything seems to be going a bit too well, because we United fans are not used to being in such a comfortable position, if that sounds odd, I will explain. In previous seasons United have gone on to win the title on many occasions, but since 1992 it has almost always been the case that Fergie's tinkering has often left the fans cursing and head-scratching, but the wizard, as was we used to call him, has to his eternal credit almost always got it right in the end, but not without many of us sprouting a few too many grey hairs along the way.

The United defence has been the subject of much debate following fourteen league shut-outs on the spin; I'm personally putting most of this feeling of calmness down to fact that the Reds have been so mean at the back. Next week, United face Inter Milan, sans Vidic and if anyone can unsettle the champions then surely Mourinho and Co must represent the biggest challenge. I have a feeling that if United can overcome the Italians over two legs then this team could go all the way to final in Rome.

United are hopefully over the worst of their problems with injuries and suspensions and so there is every reason to confident regarding what lies ahead.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant game to watch from United's perspective...though I did find Vidic a little off color last night. His passing wasn't up to the mark...and whatever no. of times he was tested by Fulham(not a lot of times though!) I thought he wasn't too comfortable. But nothing to worry about really...


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