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Have we become a cup team?

De Gea v Stoke CC Dec 2013 Hailstones stormAnother cup win. This time under bizarre conditions. Nobody fancies a cup quarter-final at the Britannia on a windy Wednesday night. Glad we got through it, all the more in convincing fashion. The score ended 0-2 to United with Darren Fletcher coming off the bench again much to the delight of the away fans who were raucous throughout.

Looking at it, we are in the knockout stages in the Champions League where we have been at our best and we look like we might progress further, we are in the semi-final of the league cup. Only Gus Poyet’s Sunderland stands in the way between Manchester United and Wembley. Au contraire, we sit 8th in the league with 25 points from 16 games that includes 5 defeats. (3 at home). Ring a bell?

The first half looked like a repeat of the way we played the same against Shaktar at home in our last group stage encounter. Ridiculous amounts of possession inside our own half and we were going nowhere with the ball. David Moyes, who looks to have settled now did not panic, I suppose. And I wonder what his team talk was. Whatever it was, it certainly altered the way Ashley Young played. Ashley Young had a game of two very different halves, scored a blinder plus set up the other, living up to the #18 shirt he’s wearing and we never looked back.

Roll back to the early weeks of December. We were not that bad against Everton in that first half, for the record. We made Howard work, drew a couple of good saves off him.  In the second half, we were good in parts but then a mix up towards the end, we conceded 3 points. The game against Newcastle that followed was total misery. Much poorer performance and endured the same 0-1 loss and conceded 3 vital points in the process.

Roll back further. We played our league cup quarter-final opponent Stoke at home, back in October. We edged it 3-2, courtesy Chicharito. We had to comeback twice. Let me rephrase it. We were down twice. Not to forget, they could have scored more that day and put that game to bed. It was our goalkeeper that kept us in the game in the first half with two stunning saves from point-blank range. Though we ran away with all 3 points, it was a performance to forget. The reason I brought that game up is, we outplayed the same opponent away from home under difficult conditions, yesterday. Blimey, it’s not the league!

Though I love us being a cup team at the moment, it is absolutely imperative we put in a string of wins now in the league. We have won 3 games in a row now, in 3 different competitions with 3 clean sheets. We have to see Welbeck, Cleverley and Young get their names on the score-sheet. Rosy, ain’t it? But nothing, absolutely nothing beats a better position in the league by the turn of new year.