So our boys play host to Middlesbrough on the back of, what has been, a free scoring run in the past three games. We have put 4 past three teams, consecutively, and if we do repeat that today, we would be smashing a 100 year old record for scoring 4 goals in each of 4 matches.
It certainly would be a handy record, but that would be the least of the priorities when the lads step on the pitch.
Boro, managed by the obnoxious Gareth (wonder how he even got his coaching badge) Southgate have been poor this season. They have been leaking goals and their attack seems to have lost its potency ever since the sale of Yakubu and Viduka. In the past, they had good records against us as well as the other top four sides. Many of us might remember the 4-1 hammering that made Keane blow his top on that mysterious MUTV interview. But that Boro side, had the two strikers just mentioned, as well as an in-form Mendieta. And we had a thread bare midfield.
This time, though, it looks almost certain that Owen Hargreaves would return to shore up things at the centre. His presence would free up Anderson, and for the first time I must say that I feel fairly confident despite Scholes’ absence. That is the effect, the presence of a high octane midfielder like Hargreaves, can have. I do remain cautious, however, of his chances of lasting the entire game. While it looks possible that he might start, I believe he will be on the pitch for an hour at the most. If we are cruising at that point then he will, in all probability, be taken off for someone like O’Shea or Fletcher to keep things simple.
I would expect the boss to play a 4-4-2. Anderson will partner Hargreaves at the centre; Tevez and Rooney upfront; and Giggs and Ronaldo on the wings. There is a chance that Nani might be preferred over Giggs in an effort to use the veteran in short bursts — especially ahead of the crunch game against Arsenal, next week.
In defence, things look like the usual. Brown-Vidic-Rio and Evra will continue as usual. But given, there are certain last minute tests that Evra needs to clear before he can be confirmed fit to play, Pique could as well deputise at left back.
In short, this game must be won. Boro are there for the taking and we must spank them suitably. Especially with that twat of a manager they have who, along with Boateng, went on a whining spree about Ronaldo’s disputed penalty.
Prediction: 3-0 to United. We should have too much class for them. (A brace from Rooney, and Tevez to score the third.)
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