|photo by BEYOND BAROQUE||via PhotoRee|
We’re getting down to the business end of the season – when all the games count for something, and some of the games count for everything. “Squeaky Bum Time,” Sir Alex famously called this time of year…. Is there a Manchester United fan out there that isn’t approaching the coming onrush of games with a slightly twitchy eye? I wish I could say I’m supremely confident – but I’m sure even Sir Alex has got to be wondering which of his split personality United teams is going to show up over the next few days.
Will it be the team that has struggled on the road all season, the one which lost at The Molineux, struggled to a late draw at Villa Park, and gave away late points at Goodison Park and Craven Cottage? It’s been plain for all to see that United have struggled on the road, with only three away victories to show to this point in the season. One can argue, though – and I will, full of hope -- that results of late have turned slightly more positive for the Reds, with two wins and a draw in their last four road games (or two wins and two draws if we throw Wednesday’s Champions League yawner into the mix).
Or will this be the time of year when Champions are made, when a team mixing veteran experience and guile with youthful enthusiasm and energy finally makes good on its season-long promise, and delivers the type of late-season performances we’ve become accustomed to over the years? When the team that smashed Blackburn and Birmingham City, and grabbed dazzling late-game winners against Blackpool and Manchester City, finally begins to show up regularly, home and away.
Beginning with Wigan today, followed by Chelsea on Tuesday, and ending with Liverpool next Sunday, are three road games which will begin to define the Manchester United 2010/11 season. Will there be a 19th League title in the offing? Although the question won’t be answered in full over this eight day span, the answer will begin to take on a much clearer hue.
And that’s what’s so fun about this time of year – there’s everything still to play for. The League title, the FA Cup, and European glory. It’s all there for you boys – now go out and grab it!
This is farlieonfootie for February 26.