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Wolves 2-1 Manchester United: Three Positives From United’s First League Defeat

Seeing the above scoreline still makes for strange reading several days later, doesn’t it?

It was inevitable that, if Manchester United continued to put themselves in precarious positions on a regular basis, it would come back to bite them eventually.

Last Saturday marked the 10th time in 25 Premier League matches that United had taken a lead and then allowed the opposition to equalize, with six of those occurrences coming away from Old Trafford. Up until Saturday, the worst the opposition had done in one of those situations is equalize, but the game of percentages caught up with United at Molineux.

Along with having already taken the scalps of City, Liverpool, and Chelsea, Wolves didn’t fold at Old Trafford after falling behind in both the Premier League and the Carling Cup earlier this season, so it comes as no surprise that they didn’t after Nani’s early strike. On top of that, their need for points had reached the desperation stage, so fair play to them for doing what was required to get three valuable points and a win that reignites their hopes for survival.

It would seem that there are few, if any, positives to take from a defeat to the league’s bottom team, but if ever there was a time and a place for United to lose their first Premier League game of the season, this was it, for multiple reasons.

1) It may be viewed as poor timing to lose before one of the most important games of the season, but there might be more reason for our upcoming opponents to worry instead of us.

There’s no secret that United haven’t been near their best in many matches this season, and to still be struggling with inconsistency at this juncture of the season is a real concern, even with United having held down top spot in the Premier League for almost two and a half months now.

United are still in the driver’s seat in the title race, and up until Saturday, had excelled at surviving and getting results week in, week out, whereas City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham have all stumbled to defeat at least five times, with some of them equally as or more unsightly than our defeat at Molineux. Arsenal? Lost at home to West Brom and Newcastle (and then there’s what happened Saturday that likely felt a lot like a defeat). City? Lost at West Brom and Wolves and at home against Everton. Chelsea? Lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland and lost at Wolves. Spurs? Lost at home to Wigan and at West Ham.

But there are some tough, tough matches ahead, and losing greatly lessens the margin for error from here on. However, finally having to deal with some tangible consequences for another underwhelming performance could be just the fierce kick in the teeth the team needs to get them to start playing up to their full ability for 90 minutes on a consistent basis.

And what better opponent to have that awakening against than City, both because they’re City and because they’re right there in the thick of the title race and inflicting defeat on our archrivals would go a long way towards turning what’s currently a three-horse race into a two-horse tilt.

2) If you’re going to lose, better it come in a situation where you lose as little ground as possible.

United’s defeat did indeed tighten things up at the top of the table, but their advantage was trimmed by a single point. Arsenal mightily squandered the opportunity be within only two points again, as they allowed Newcastle to stunning overturn a 4-0 deficit in the span of 20 minutes in their 4-4 draw at St. James’.

City’s three easy points against West Brom helped them make up some of the ground that they’d given up recently, but they’re still five back with one more match played.

Most importantly, Chelsea, who many still considered to be the most legitimate threat to United’s title hopes, lost at home to resurgent Liverpool to keep the distance between themselves and United at 10 points. To be seven points back with two matches still remaining against United would have been a dangerous, dangerous position, but instead, they’re one defeat closer to being out of it.

By that same token, United weren’t able to take advantage of their rivals’ missteps and score a win that would have all but put the nail in Chelsea’s coffin and pad the lead on Arsenal, who have seven home matches left to United’s six, including United’s visit to the Emirates on April 30.

But if United are to lose only one time this season, last weekend was about the best place for it to happen.

3) With the mental fortitude that United possess, it would seem unlikely that all of the talk of an unbeaten season would be a serious detriment. But it’s reasonable to assume that the longer United stayed unbeaten, the more it would have weighed on everyone’s minds individually, even if the topic remained off-limits for dressing room discussion.

And as nice as it was to be into February with a chance at an unbeaten Premier League season – in a season in which parity and competitiveness is as high as it’s ever been, no less, dropping the distraction at this point can do more good than harm. Plenty of pressure automatically comes with being Manchester United and perennially being in the mix for multiple trophies, but throw in the potential of an achievement that even United’s most storied sides weren’t able to accomplish, and you can only imagine how the nerves of some could be.

It would have been a tough task to go through the final few months unscathed. Escaping the trio of visits to Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool without a single defeat is a tough sell in any season, Blackburn and Newcastle are both tricky places to play, and West Ham and Wigan are both fighting for their Premier League lives.

But from here, without having to hear ‘is this when United will lose? will they be able to maintain the streak?’ ahead of every upcoming match, the squad’s individual and collective focus can now solely be on maintaining their hold on top spot and securing the title.

68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    @Redrich: Could it be? I think it has a chance of happening but not until the season ends. Most interesting to me is to see how Fergie reacts to sale. If he goes out on a wild spending spree he will confirm to me that he was a lying hypocrite all these years. So poor Fergie an neither win or lose with me simply because he took the wrong side when the Glazer’s took over. I’ll be ecstatic if he goes on a buying binge but I’ll still call him a bald faced lying hypocrite if he does. If he doesn’t spend money, then I will apologize openly for having been wrong about his motives and then ask for his head because no manager in his right mind would continue with the team he has and not make some major purchases. I know Red, I’m a hard man to please when it comes to Fergie. πŸ˜€

  2. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    @Redrich: Something that I mentioned on here when that occurred. Yet again proof to people like Johnsom who seem so threatened by my knowledge and ability to offer facts. I think we are near the end when it comes to the Glazer regime. Hell I’d tank the rest of the season if it meant the deal would go through.

  3. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    @Jay wire: You just cannot take your lumps like a good boy, stick your ego and pride in your back pocket and just shut up can you? Drop the topic mate. You are wrong on all counts and it’s not important to any of us that we prove how wrong you are. The bottom line is that as long as you have been a member you have never shown the courtesy to read long informative rants by people like myself or you would have found all your evidence long ago. Instead you seem determined to make your lame points along with offering your conjecture and piss poor evidence and try to antagonize and frustrate us all. Well I for one have had it. I have pleaded with you to stop and move on to other topics but you just keep going like the Energizer Bunny. Which leads me to the conclusion that you are either an idiot or a sadist or both. Get the hint and either shut up about this crap or fuck off you exasperating tosser. 😑 😑 πŸ™„ πŸ™„

  4. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    @Spizzy: I have no problem with you mate but the fact is he is wrong regarding this and he needs to get the hint and move on. Referring to us who have had it with him as closed minded hypocrites is way out of line because too many people feel enraged and offended by his views and take on the situation. I am not one for mob rules but in this case, I make an exception. He made his bed and now he lays in it but he still won’t give it up and that has frustrated all of us and made us angry. Support him all you like, that’s your right but stop calling people like myself hypocrites because we are not. No matter if one is wrong or right, there comes a time in a debate when one must stop.

  5. Johnsom33

    February 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    @Grognard: You sound like a broken record. No matter how many times people ask you to further defend your opinions you say you have already explained it and people just didn’t read it.

    It’s almost like you have never contemplated the thought of being wrong or misguided.

  6. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    @Eddie Griffin: Welcome to Red Rants mate. Fact is sometimes tempers get a bit frayed. Truthfully, should have nipped this whole thing in the bud a lot sooner when a certain JayWire couldn’t get the hint to just cease and desist. Instead he just continued to irritate and actually succeed at pitting a few of us against each other depending on what side of the fence we sat on.

    This shite usually sorts itself out but one individual on here needs to put his views on the subject to bed and stop antagonizing fans who frankly do not share his views. Disagreeing with a view is not a crime but this topic is one that wounds us all deeply as United supporters and it brings out the worst in us. Suppressing the instigator I think would go a long way to defusing the bad karma that is floating around right now.

  7. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    @Jay wire: WOW, lucky you, you have a friend. πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ˜€

  8. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    @Jay wire: I wished you’d go outside for a month and skip a rope instead. Or better yet, skip this blog altogether.

  9. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    @Johnsom33: No, I just have a pet peeve mate and that’s having to repeat myself. I have written about this topic and given my proof and my views many times in the past. I just have no interest or do I feel the motivation to have to do so again. If you had actually read those posts you would remember that I have offered what I call evidence and yes, FACTS. The fact you choose to either ignore those posts or conveniently forget them is not going to motivate me to go back hundreds of threads and try to dig them up. Frankjly I could care less whether you or anyone else believes me or not. It’s your right to not believe me if it helps you get through the night. I offered my

  10. Grognard

    February 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Johnsom, Sorry my computer posted my last comment before I finished. I offered my views and I am not about to go back and waste hours trying to find posts that you chose to ignore or have forgotten. On the chance you haven’t noticed lately, I have limited my time on this blog to an hour or so every morning simply because I am too busy the rest of the day trying to get a business off of the ground So just consider me lacking the necessary motivation of the past to appease your needs for satisfaction.

  11. Johnsom33

    February 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    @Grognard: For the last time, I have read your post, views and thoughts. So please stop saying I haven’t read them, I have it. Where we are at now is I don’t agree with the conclusions you come up with, or the so called “facts” you speak. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they didn’t read what your wrote. Somehow in your eyes you can’t fathom how someone doesnt see things your way, so the only logical conclusion is that the dissenter didnt read what you wrote. I totally understand you don’t want to go back and repost things or repeat yourself. But if that’s the case then please stay out of the discussion, cause it doesn’t help you, me or anyone else if all you say is “I’ve already proven you wrong months ago, so please cease and desist and move on.” so just because you declare yourself the winner by default people are supposed to stop discussing?

    Do you understand how someone like me could have a problem with that? That’s not arrogance or superior intelligence it’s just plain childish. If you want to participate in the debate then by all means jump in, but don’t try and discourage debate cause you don’t like the viewpoints but can’t be arsed to counter them.

  12. Grognard

    February 12, 2011 at 6:54 am

    @Johnsom33: Bullshit. If you had read those posts you wouldn’t be busting my balls like you are right now. Frankly I’m fed up with the whole thing. And it’s awfully brave of you to call me childish online isn’t it. I doubt you’d do so in person. Awfully brave.

  13. Eddie Griffin

    February 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    @Johnsom33 & @ Grognard: Let it drop, mates. I think it’s run its course on both sides.

  14. johnsom33

    February 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    @Grognard: I read your posts I disagree with them, deal with it. and Im sorry did you just threaten me on a online blog? how old are you again? Grow up

  15. Grognard

    February 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    @johnsom33: It wasn’t a threat, it was a statement. I doubt you would be as brave to call me childish in person as you are hiding behind your computer monitor. The thought of a young man calling somebody who is over 50 childish is ridiculous, especially since i feel I have earned a lot more respect from you on here with my writing and my ideas. Just call it feeling very disrespected by you. But then again it’s just like you to misread my intentions and see what I wrote as a threat. πŸ™„

  16. Grognard

    February 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    @Eddie Griffin: Johnsom and I generally get along very well mate. We are having a argument right now because Johnsom’s in a bad mood and feels he needs to lash out at me because he occasionally feels a little threatened by my intellect and aggressive nature. It will pass and things will go back to normal because at the end of the day, he is also intelligent and fair. I’d just chalk it up to the fact that I rub him the wrong way from time to time, and the same must be true from my side as well. I wouldn’t worry too much about us Eddie as we generally get along even if we do not always see eye to eye. πŸ™‚

  17. Johnsom33

    February 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    @Grognard: Who’s hiding behind their computer screen? I have a picture of myself as my avatar you have cantona. My facebook is posted you are scared to reveal your real name.

  18. Stephen

    February 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    @Grognard: @Johnsom33: Leave it chaps you are both superb contributors to this site and it is sad when people who add something to this comunity fall out.

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