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Vote for Player of the Month – April 2012

For 8 whole days at the beginning of April everything in the garden of Old Trafford was looking mightily rosy. Suddenly, complacency crept into the players causing one of the most abject performances from a travelling United team in many many years which collided with an in-form, confident, energetic, rejuvenated Wigan Athletic team fighting for their premiership lives. From that day on, and from that 1-0 defeat at the DW Stadium, United have looked devastatingly nervous.

In many ways April has mimicked the entire season-so-far. A great start with positive signs leading to a shaky middle before seeing confidence peak (at the moment Patrice Evra headed against the post) before being publicly, and possibly fatally, brought back down to Earth with a dramatic bump; leaving this season’s title unbearably in the hands of our neighbours.

Some fantastic spells of football followed by some unbelievably uncharacteristic mistakes will live long in the memory and many fingers will be pointed at many defining moments as the ‘defining moment of the season’ depending on which way results go from now until the end of the season. The Evra header crashing off the post, Wigan (full stop), Rio Ferdinand’s positioning for Everton’s fourth and final equaliser, Sir Alex Ferguson’s lame, tame, somewhat fearful lineup in the Derby despite strong indications pre-match that his team were going to “go for it”.

Conversely, the attacking performance against Everton that, at times, was mesmerising and possibly some the finest football the team’s produced during the season….I give you the wonderful team-goal that was Nani’s clip over Howard or Welbeck’s dummied one-two leading to Rooney becoming United’s fourth highest top goalscorer of all time.

Who will forget Ewood Park and our 7,000+ travelling fans who created an electric atmosphere that brushed off on the players and saw them hold their nerve to produce and powerful, gutsy, determined performance to finally see-off Blackburn in the latter stages of the game, from 0-0 to 2-0 in a heartbeat with Valencia the key man.

Ashley Young has attracted headlines of his own this month after being awarded a brace of penalties in successive home fixtures leading to an all-too familiar outcry of ‘fix’ from ABU’s up-and-down the country (and beyond).

Despite the doom and gloom, this title is far from over. The only thing stopping us is a mishap for City against teams who are both still in need of points at opposite ends of the table. Not only that, we’re a goal-glut away reducing our goal difference and with a home fixture against Swansea at the weekend, who wouldn’t have taken needing goals against them at the start of the season to cut any goal deficit?

Whichever way you look at it April has seen more ups-and-downs than Jermaine Pennants breathalyser!

Who’s stood out from the crowd for you? Who’s been United’s top performer this month?

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