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Opinion Piece

Have United learnt their history lesson?

Sir-Alex-Ferguson-007_1200x720To paraphrase Karl Marx, history repeats itself, first as  tragedy, second as farce. After the suicide-inducing drama of the final day of last season, United supporters and players should make Marx’s statement their own personal mantra for the next 12 weeks, for the season is far from over.

From a purely mathematical point of view, City are four point worse off than they were last year when the gap was at its widest, but they have twice as many games to close the gap which means that, while there are no guarantees they’ll succeed in their task, another comeback is within their abilities.

Starting with this weekend’s action away against the club whose fans serenaded City’s support with chants of “We let you win the league” in a wonderful exercise of tin-pot mentality, United’s fixtures list leading into the Manchester derby reads Norwich at home, West Ham away, Reading at home and Sunderland away and considering the ruthless way Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have gone about their business this season, a return between 13 to 15 points isn’t too far fetched an idea.

Without wanting to venture any deeper in cliche territory, it can’t be ignored that last season United saw their quest for record 20th domestic title derailed by defeat at Wigan and a shambolic home draw against Everton, stark reminder that every game is difficult in the Premier League, particularly when there’s so much at stake.

A 12-point lead in February is a healthy lead, particularly as at the moment United look more likely to further stretch the gap than City do of closing it and in Robin Van Persie they possess a player whose talent would have probably been enough to win them the title last season.

The Champions League hailed by Roberto Mancini as City’s last chance to derail United’s title ambitions could prove to be beneficial rather than detrimental, for it’ll keep players focused on more fronts but, as Newcastle know only too well, even a huge lead could evaporate before you can say Eric Cantona.

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his side against imploding again as they did last season, and there are many a reason to believe they won’t, just as there are to consider the possibility of City mounting another comeback, for Mancini’s men have looked a shadow of the team they were last year.

Nevertheless, a relaxed attitude has started to slightly, yet ever so steadily, creep through some sections of United supporters, rather inexplicably considering the circumstances in which the title was snatched from their grasp last year. As talks of repeating the Treble started to circulate over the last few weeks I found myself in the rather unusual position -for a 25-year-old that is – of addressing younger generations who are getting a bit carried away.

In 1999, the possibility of achieving the Treble was first mentioned when United won the FA Cup and Champions League semifinals (and I, for one, do not intend to endure a similar ordeal this season so, should we get that far, two dull 1-0 wins would do me.) rather than with 12 league games to go, a return leg of the last 16 of the Champions League to negotiate and a FA Cup quarter final looming large on the horizon.

Those arguing that fans can’t affect the outcome of a game tend to forget that, at this stage of the season more than ever, the mood from the stands transfers to the eleven on the pitch, so let’s all do ourselves a favour and keep our mouths shut and our minds focused until the title is mathematically sealed.

Dan (@MUFC_dan87)