There are surnames that carry a legacy with them, a sense of anticipation ready to turn into a heavy burden of expectations even when two players share nothing more than their last name, rather than a blood relationship. At Old Trafford, one of those surnames happens to be widely common in the isle across the Irish Sea.
If you’re a Red, it has been one of those weeks where avoiding newspapers, radio phone-ins and other media outlets suddenly becomes very advisable, in other words the sort of week that comes around regularly when England and their circus replace club football. Not that the crusade against Rio should bother us at all, after all the curtain finally drawing on his international career is what we had hoped for for the last four-five years, but the times are indeed grim when we are lectured on moral values by Steven Gerrard.
Manchester United are set to receive a timely boost for their run-in as Paul Scholes is set to make his return to first team football after the international break, when United face Sunderland away 48 hours before traveling south for the FA Cup quarter final replay against Chelsea.
Scholesy has missed the last 10 games, since appearing as a sub against Fulham in the FA Cup on January 26 and his return will be a welcome news for Sir Alex Ferguson who had previously stressed the 38-year-old will be part of his plans for the final, crucial, weeks of the season.
If you’re an individual whose feelings for football are about as abundant as Liverpool’s league titles since 1989, chances are that you’ll find March a rather pleasant month. Longer days, warm(ish) weather and Easter chocolate are all good reasons to be cheerful as the spring slowly, yet ever so steadily, replaces the winter with the same regularity with whom ‘Arry oversees clubs plunging into financial meltdown.
Personally, I have never liked March. All this talking of the title being within touching distance (I refuse to use words that would describe the title as if it had already been added to our trophy cabinet) and the insistency of pairing the words “done” and “dusted” is cringeworthy, considering we still have nine (NINE!) league games to go through.
“Wayne Rooney’s 16th goal of the season was enough to propel Manchester United 15 points clear with just nine games remaining in the Barclays Premier League title race” – The Daily Mail
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United welcome managerless Reading to Old Trafford on Saturday for the second time in four weeks hoping to make it six league wins in a row and take another step toward recapturing the Premier League title.
Reading arrive with, I guarantee it, huge intrepidation knowing United have just suffered a massively disappointing week with the loss to Real Madrid and the hapless capitulation against Chelsea fresh in their minds and an eagerness to start afresh putting those memories behind them. That spells danger for Reading, beware the wounded beast!
Unbeaten in the league since November, United find themselves hot favourites to produce a performance akin to that of ‘Sprinter Sacre’ at Cheltenham this week. He won by 19 lengths and Betegy suggest United could win by an equally large margin.
What a week or so it’s been. First the shocking dismissal of Nani and the heartache of breaking down against a Mourihno inspired Real Madrid, then the agonisingly painful second half capitulation versus Chelsea which now means Easter Monday will be spent beating them rather than getting some much needed rest for the boys, then Carrickboy goes and wins at 50/1 during the Cheltenham Festival! I hope you were all on it like faithful Reds……I know I wasn’t unfortunately!
Normal business I hope will resume tomorrow and United should have a chance to blow any lingering memories of their most recent two games with a juggernaut-like rollering of relegation threatened Reading who make the trip to Old Trafford without the man who got them into the top flight just 9 months ago and won January’s Manager of the Month. Some decisions are just too bizarre for words.
Where’s the value in the betting for tomorrow? Let’s take a look……and help ourselves to a free bet while we’re at it.
A week ago Rio Ferdinand walked on the Old Trafford turf, with his Treble dream still intact and very much alive. Fast forward seven days and it looks like he might have to settle for just one trophy.
The title is far from sealed, particularly when one considers last season’s ordeal, and United still have a good chance of securing a spot in the FA Cup semifinal against the “noisy neighbours”, but regardless of the outcome of the remaining ten weeks of the season, this year has definitely been a positive one for Rio.
Ferdinand’s exclusion from the England squad that traveled to Ukraine and Poland in the summer seemed justified when the 34-year-old fell victim of recurrent injury problems at the beginning of the season, when many pondered if this would be Rio’s swan song in a United shirt.