March proved a productive month for United; but only in the Premier League. On the European stage they were arguably made to look like boys against men after suffering back-to-back defeats both at home and away to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.
Domestically, where the (now more than ever) more important matter of winning the title was at stake, United found themselves two points adrift of local rivals Manchester City and a seemingly huge distance behind in the goal difference column, by the end of the month a frustratingly nervous and lucky 1-0 win at home to Fulham has left the reds two points CLEAR and just three goals behind City thanks to a monumental team effort during what – on paper – looked a very tricky month.
Spurs were the first team to find United’s form and desire too much to handle. Yes Spurs were missing Parker and others but United’s performance set the tone for the month and sent a strong message of intent to the noisiest of noisy neighbours. Yes United found it difficult at White Hart Lane in the opening exchanges but when Rooney opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, there was only ever going to be one winner. A brace of top class finishes from Ashley Young around about the hour mark was enough to seal a well deserved 3-1 win and cut City’s lead back to two points after they temporarily extended it with a home win against Bolton.
Next up, it was in-form West Brom at Old Trafford and again United’s commitment and desire was enough to ensure there was no repeat of last season’s unexpected reverse against The Baggies. Rooney stepped up again, this time scoring a brace of his own to see off a submissive, error prone and perhaps even frightened West Brom side that offered little or no resistance, so much so that the 2-0 scoreline was seen by some as an opportunity missed to reduce the goal difference. Today was the day that saw United overtake City at the summit after they were beaten by Premier League new-boys Swansea City at The Liberty Stadium.
Perhaps the performance of the month came at Molyneux against Wolves where United took advantage of a lacklustre Wolves side that lacked any defensive guts or organisation. Jonny Evans got United going with his first goal for the club while Rooney and Welbeck made the game safe before we’d even broke for halftime drinks. Hernandez came off the bench to wrap the game up with two well taken close range finishes in the second half.
The month ended with the visit of Fulham, Rooney finding the net (with what this time proved to be a vital winner), and Fulham denied a stone-wall penalty in the dying minutes of the game. That was Rooney’s fifth goal of the month and no doubt puts him in with a great shout for March’s Player of the Month.
Who do you think was the most important player for United during March? Who stood out during four straight Premier League wins?
This month RedRants has teamed up with UnitedTees.net to offer TWO lucky winners the chance to win a T-Shirt (of their own choice) from the UnitedTees website, simply tell us who YOUR Player of the Month (NAME ONLY) for March is in a comment below and two random winners will be chosen from the correct answers on Sunday night.