As hard as it may be, we should never take for granted our success. A couple of seasons ago we got to sing “Champions of England, Champions of Europe” every game. It was only the second time in the club’s history that our fans would be entitled to brag about such a thing. But it becomes habit and you soon forget the real implications of that chat and things our players achieved on the pitch to allow us to sing about that.
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to sing about us being top of the league, but following Chelsea’s implosion and our victory over Arsenal, it’s a chant we’ve heard again over the past few weeks.
The council refused to clear all the snow for City ahead of their game against Everton, so they got their own staff our there doing it. They were absolutely desperate to go top of the league for Christmas by knocking United off, but despite playing against ten men for half an hour and despite Everton scoring them a goal, City still managed to lose.
So we got to stay top of the table for Christmas but this isn’t a position we should take for granted. Nobody would have believed we’d be here after our start to the season, but we are, and we should appreciate it, with hopes of 19 looming large.
In our favour today is the fact they’re without the suspended Lee Cattermole and our Danny Welbeck, who has scored 5 goals in Sunderland’s last 6 games. We’ve also had a week off thanks to Chelsea’s postponement.
But they do have Manchester United fan Asamoah Gyan chomping at the bit, wanting to impress in front of Sir Alex. They also have Steve Bruce as the manager, who for all his love for United, will want the three points for his team and will want to get one over on his old boss.
Michael Owen is apparently fit again, although I’d be surprised to see him start the game from anywhere but the bench. Javier Hernandez hasn’t played since November’s defeat against West Ham so it would be nice to see him given a run too. My preference would to be Chicharito start alongside Dimitar Berbatov, who was overlooked for our victory over Arsenal, although I imagine it will be Rooney who starts.
Paul Scholes may return to the fold, as might Ryan Giggs, and with the extra players available in midfield it makes predicting the starters practically impossible. The only one I would put money on is Ji-Sung Park, who will be leaving us for the Asia Cup after today, but in all honesty, who knows?
I’d like a good start to the game, a solid defence, and the lads to play with the confidence being top of the table should bring.
Come on lads!