Analysis Opinion Insight

Friday, March 12, 2010

Time to Turn it up a notch.

So its trophy winning time, and with  Ambrosini's AC Milan side already vanquished, making sure we keep ourselves in Champions League winning form is obviously first priority. Making it to 3 consequetive finals will be a "European First", and we all know how much Sir Alex loves his "firsts"! Another "First" would be winning the premier league for a fourth consequetive season, achieving both feats, would convince even the most hard headed ABU's that life does go on with Ronaldo, and that we are not, and never were, a one man team.

However rosy that picture looks, we must remember that the road ahead is fraught with danger. Even though Real Madrid and Liverpool are out of the Champions League, we cannot discount the threat of those still in the competition. Lyon, Bayern Munich, Arsenal are all though to the quater finals, and I expect Chelsea, Bordeaux, Sevilla and current holders Barcelona to progress in next weeks fixtures. It would be foolish to consider Lyon, Munich, or Sevilla as easy opponents, each side have their distinct threats,(Lopez & Pjanic, Ribery & Robben, Kanoute & Navas) and having reached the knockout stages of Europe's finest competition, undoubtedly possess copious amounts of skill, tactical nous and hard work. But I wouldn't wager against United being able to beat any of them if the squad is fit, fresh and firing.

Therein lies the unknown factor that turns winning the Champions League from a sure thing to a gambling man's bet. Rooney is peerless in terms of goalscoring form, but is carrying a slight knock to the knee, an injury shared to a similar extent by Dimitar Berbatov. Micheal Owen, Anderson and Brown are suffering from "long term" injuries, Hargreaves and O'Shea continue to recover, and Kiko Macheda is said to be a fortnight away from fitness, when he can return to actually playing is a whole other question. Danny Welbeck is on loan at PNE, which leaves us with Mame Biram Diouf as our only other 100% completley fit forward option. Not so reassuring is it? Especially with some important and potentially tiring Premier League fixtures to negotiate.

Home ties with Fulham (reverse fixture::L 0-3) , Liverpool (L 0-2) , Chelsea (L 0-1), Spurs (W 3-1) and Stoke (W 0-2) as well as away ties with Bolton(W 1-2), Blackburn (W 0-2), City (W 3-4), and Sunderland(D 2-2)round out our domestic campaign, and a return of 23 points from a possible 27 would most probably see Sir Alex and his merry band of trophy winners claim a 19th Domestic title.      

So now is the time to "get behind the lads", "raise the roof" and "get the house rocking", prepare to party.