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Following the desperately disappointing and unjust result against Real Madrid, I was expecting United to come out fighting against Chelsea in the Cup last weekend. We went 2-0 up without needing to play well but then fell to pieces in the second half. Whenever we had the ball we gave it straight to their players, welcoming ridiculous amounts of pressure, meaning we were relieved we ended up with a replay. This hadn’t quite been the reaction I’d been hoping for after the Champions League exit.

When Reading sacked the manager I was disappointed. Not just because it was an unfair and shortsighted decision by the board, but because there’s always the potential it could galvanise their players. They’re in the relegation zone, they have the worst record in the league away from home (5 points from 42) and were on the road to nowhere. I really could have done without any banana skins. Would United be able to shake themselves out of it? Would the manager be able to find a fresh combination of players who could get the job done?

It’s safe to say that since City’s 2-0 defeat against the ten men of Everton I’m feeling more optimistic than I was! A few weeks ago City lost 3-1 to Southampton and Ferguson revealed this changed his thinking on what his team selection would be for our game against Everton. You would like to think that City have just delivered Ferguson’s team talk for him this afternoon. A win today puts us 15 points clear at the top of the table with nine games left to play. Incredible.

I would give Van Persie a week off, let Javier Hernandez (who has the best goals per minute rate in the league, averaging a goal every 93 minutes and 30 seconds) have another go and see what Wayne Rooney can do. Nani did his hamstring in the first half of the Chelsea game and is unavailable, meaning Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are likely to start on the wings. Ferguson has revealed that Scholes is back in training and will be available before the end of the season, but the Reading game has come too soon for him. Anderson should return to the starting line-up, although after looking exhausted against Chelsea, Cleverley is unlikely to get another game today.

This is a huge game against Reading and you would think it should be one we win convincingly. Let’s put this title to bed and take all the pressure off the tougher games against City, Arsenal and Chelsea in the league.


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