Arsenal were dealt another major blow yesterday by Liverpool, of all teams. Man City, on the other hand, showed little intention to do us any favours by rolling over for Chelsea — like they did last time while getting spanked 6-1. So Chelsea creep up with a two point gap. Therefore we must win this game to keep the pressure up going into the crunch fixtures, which include Arsenal at home and Chelsea away. Blackburn away could also prove to be tricky and West Ham can prove to be a potential banana skin.
But that is all looking too far ahead. Fact is, we can make things very easy for us if we beat inferior opposition, i.e., those outside the supposed big four.
In squad news we are travelling with a 20 man squad which includes the likes of skipper Neville and Mikael Silvestre. Nani’s thigh injury will still keep him out, although he could return for Roma. We will be without Vidic but one could say that we might be able to cope without him at least against Middlesbrough.
We’d have to wait and see if Neville would have a part to play today. I, for one, think he would make it on the pitch only if we are in cruise mode with a two goal cushion to boot. Fergie would certainly not risk starting him.
Otherwise O’Shea would play right back with Brown moving to the centre alongside Rio and Evra at left back. In centre midfield if Fergie goes for form he’d play Scholes and Carrick, but there’s no way of getting that prediction right. Giggs should be back after sitting out the midweek game, while Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney are expected to start — I believe, to scare the shit out of their defence.
Regarding Middlesbrough, they do have a decent forward line, with Tuncay providing good pace and creativity and Alfonso Alves coming agonisingly close to scoring against Chelsea, the other day. They could do some damage given a sniff, but their forward line doesn’t have the bulk that Yakubu and Viduka gave them previously.
As always, an early goal for us would make things very easy, but we should be prepared to dig in if things don’t go right.
Hopefully we win it and keep things under control.
Prediction: 2-0 to United.
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