Looking forward to Manchester United
After the euphoria of last Saturday, I welcomed the fact that we were going to play Manchester United and Arsenal at this point in the season. We have nothing to lose and, as we showed against Manchester City, we can compete with the best. Now that we have discovered the location of the opposition goal, we can even win games. If this is the start of a 'purple patch`, bring them all on!
It`s now Friday and my confidence is ebbing away ... and it`s all Lech Poznan`s fault. Now I do not want to disparage the quality of Polish football (and for the purposes of this article I would prefer it to be sky-high) but for me Manchester City`s failure on Thursday took a little of the gilt off our victory against them. Call me a pessimist if you like but the defeat made me wonder just how far internal dissensions are contributing to City`s current poor form.
If this were true, it would be great for football in general, but, for us, it suggests that we should approach the Manchester United game with a dollop of realism. I am still reasonably optimistic, though we shall see whether MM shares my view when he announces his starting line-up. I think we should field as strong a team as possible, perhaps with one or two substitutions to rest key players for the match against Arsenal on Wednesday. What a great opportunity to replace Berra with Mouyokolo ... pity we cannot get Zubar on the field too!
Isn`t it amazing what a little confidence will do? Jarvis has suddenly found it and he`s on fire. Milijas lost it- not surprisingly, given last year`s experience- and now he is playing like the man (to quote MM) that we bought. It`s the serendipity effect: if we had not lost Guedioura through injury or Henry through suspension, Nenad would still be warming the substitutes` bench for ninety minutes. The players have now coalesced into a team with a shape and a purpose, to add to their work ethic. It`s going to be a long and painful road (no more so than listening to Beacon Radio tomorrow) but it just might take us to the right destination.