Smalling Evans Vidic Evra
Valencia Carrick Cleverley(Scholes) Young
After a good first half, our boys got complacent and thought that the game was already won. WBA huffed and puffed to get themselves level during the second period but a great goal from RVP sealed the issue late on.
We scored 8 minutes into the first half, Young crossed the ball and WBA's defender flicked the ball into his own net. When we score that early, I always expect a goal fest to follow. Unfortunately, the barrage of goals I expect never really ensues. When we score really early, we almost always shut shop. That ensures we experience some very tense minutes. However, as long as we get the three points, I'm not complaining!
The defence was excellent. We managed to keep the third(correct me if I'm wrong) cleansheet of the season. Yes, out of 20 games, we managed only our 3rd clean sheet. That is a very poor record, if I'm honest. Anyhow, we're top of the league and that is the only record that really matters. I can't say our defence did anything wrong. Our strikers worked their socks off while our central midfielders kept the game ticking. HOWEVER, I'm really disappointed with our wingers. Young was so and so but Valencia was poor, very poor. It's almost obvious that he prefers playing with Rafael because when he plays with either Jones or Smalling, there seems like there is no cohesion whatsoever. Furthermore, that extra second or two Valencia takes to make his mind up is driving me nuts. He was in decent positions on a number of occasions but his delay to play the ball gave plenty of chance for the opposition to recuperate. So far, this definitely wasn't Antonio's season. Must try harder.
Getting into the new year with a 7 point advantage is obviously an excellent position to be in. The level of the PL seems to have decreased a tiny bit though. We haven't really been setting houses on fire, yet we're on top of the PL. Whether we've lowered our standards or the 'lower' teams have upped their efforts needs to be seen. However, I get the feeling that the top teams aren't really indestructible. Anyone could win. It doesn't matter if you're playing City or United, neither are unbeatable, anyone could get away with the three points. This obviously promises an exciting prospect for any neutral out there, and a hard time for the hearts of millions of reds scattered around the world. We've managed to live through a pretty turbulent 2012, let's hope 2013 sees us adopt a more convincing style of play were our players win games without jeopardising the health of their followers.
2012 will definitely be a year I'll never forget. Being a whisker away from winning the league and then having to bear the horrible sight of Tevez holding our trophy, is something I long to forget. The annoying vision of the "brave" Terry parading around a stadium in Munich with the European cup is also another sight I hope my mind erases from its internal memory. Only a successful year from United could make the pain felt in 2012 disappear. So here's to a brilliant new year! Come on United!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!