It’s always good to go in to the International break after picking up a good result. Beating Arsenal a couple of weeks ago was a fantastic result for United, following the press and even our own fans writing us off. The popular line was that if we lost that game we had no chance of winning the title, so picking up the three points after a solid performance has certainly kept our critics at bay.
With the International games now over, with the likes of Patrice Evra and Nani confirming their places in Rio, our players’ attention can return to climbing the table. Only Arsenal and Spurs have a better away record than us this season so we should be fairly confident about going to Cardiff, and sports betting dime has us as favourites for the game. Still, this season they’ve beaten City at home and drawn against Everton, so they’re no mugs.
We’re likely to be without our two first choice central midfielders, with Michael Carrick recovering from surgery on his achilles and Phil Jones pulling out of England’s defeat against Germany with a groin injury. This means that it could be an opportunity for Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley to show what they’re capable of. Neither have impressed this season though so it is a fairly worrying prospect. Anderson has been claiming that he is fit and raring to go, so Moyes might opt to give him another chance, despite the Brazilian being poor in all three of his limited appearances so far this season.
We’ve scored more goals per game away from home than any other team this season and will be relying on Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney for some more. Danny Welbeck is out but Javier Hernandez didn’t play in Mexico’s World Cup qualifying games, being spared the travelling to Mexico City and Wellington, New Zealand. Maybe our Mexican might be given a rare start, given his great scoring record of late, with rumours mounting that he is on his way out of United.
The player we all want to see at the moment is Adnan Januzaj though, who plays with such freedom and determination, and hopefully he’ll be starting on the left again. Antonio Valencia has been improving this season and has started taking more players on, but Januzaj is fearless when he’s on the pitch and is always testing the full-back.
It’s funny how just a few weeks can change so much in football and after the poor results of our rivals before the International break, we’re suddenly in a great position, and that could improve even further on Sunday. Liverpool are away to Everton and Arsenal take on 3rd placed Southampton. Maybe it’s a bit too much to ask for that results could go our way for a second matchday running, but it’s vitally important that we get all three points this weekend and make the most of our good momentum.
“I never thought we were out of it (the title race),” said Moyes. “We just go about our job and try and win each game. Everybody knew at the start what it was going to be like. We knew we had a change of manager and there were always going to be problems, no matter what – whether it be winning games or different personnel in the team. I have said many times that Manchester United have proved over the years they improve as they go on.”
Here’s to more improvements this weekend.