If at the beginning of the season someone told me that the thought of Aston Villa on a Monday night would have me feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve, it would have been hard to take them seriously. Yet here we are, about to take on a relegation candidate following a weekend of big games on SUPER SUNDAY, and I can barely keep the smile off my face.
Thanks to Tottenham Hotspur’s remarkable comeback yesterday afternoon, United are now three points away from winning the league. Whilst people have been saying for weeks that the title is wrapped up, with us maintaining at least a 12 point gap for months, it’s hard to explain the excitement of today. You would think that the idea of being champions would have sunk in by now, with United having lead the table since the first month or two of the season, but this one I would rank up there with 2006-2007 for how happy it makes me feel.
Of course, it’s not won yet, and it would be typical of United to balls it up tonight and draw. I suppose the point is that doesn’t really matter. We are winning the league one way or another. But I hope it’s tonight so we can get the party started and enjoy the remaining games of the season, whatever the result.
Aston Villa’s away form has been fairly decent and they have picked up points in 9 of the 16 they’ve played away from home. Still, they’re without their full squad, with Agbonlahor a doubt and Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton, Gary Gardner and Richard Dunne all confirmed as injured. Stoke and Sunderland both won on the weekend though meaning that just three points separates them from Wigan in the relegation zone. If United beat them by more than two goals tonight they will replace Wigan in the bottom three on goal difference. They’ve got everything to play for and it would be foolish to cross this off as three points.
At the same time, you imagine the manager will have been waiting to give this team talk all season, the one that gets us over the finishing line. You would like to think that this is the best prepared they will have been all season to get a victory and despite Villa being desperate for any points they can get, we will go out and get the job done.
Ashley Young is out for the rest of the season so you would imagine that Shinji Kagawa, who the boss was full of praise for following last week’s game against West Ham, will start on the left. Michael Carrick and Cleverley should be a must, but the latter has been left out regularly over recent weeks. Antonio Valencia looked better against West Ham and was even delivering dangerous crosses in the box, which should be enough to keep his place in the team. Ferguson wasn’t happy with Wayne Rooney’s last performance and subbed him off with 20 minutes to go. It will be interesting to see if Danny Welbeck or Chicharito replace him.
I can’t remember the last time I clock-watched this regularly. I cannot wait for kick-off. Come on United, get this bloody title won!
Mancini, are you listening? You better keep our trophy glistening. Said we’d be back in May, but April’s OK, walking in a Fergie wonderland.
£20 wins you…
Van Persie first scorer: £75
United to win 3-1: £180
Van Persie to score first and United to win 2-0 OR 3-1: £340
Villa winning at half time, United winning at full time: £380