Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday February 19 2009
It`s the morning after the night before and the reality, and harshness, of our 3-0 defeat still lingers.
If I were to be honest I never really believed that we`d get a victory up at Old Trafford but I did secretly hope we could scrape out a very boring 0-0 draw or if we were going to be blasted away that we`d at least stick the ball in Edwin`s onion-bag to end that run United constantly chat on about.
But the minute the team was announced and there were no Paul Konchesky or Andrew Johnson courtesy of injuries picked up recently visions of the four horseman of the Apocalypse appeared in my mind.
Matters were not helped by the fact that our team, with Toni Kallio and Chris Baird giving it a defensive edge with Bobby Zamora ploughing a lone furrow up front only seemed to expand those thoughts of Old Trafford being a deemed a damage limitation exercise.
Nevertheless, we can all hope for that miracle and after all we hadn`t, this season, lost to any of the so-called big four let alone capitulate to those that spend on a different financial level to ourselves.
Sadly, any thoughts of repelling the boarders for ninety minutes, plus the usual plethora of injury time Sir Ferguson gets at Old Trafford, were wrecked as early as the twelfth minute when an individual error from Mark Schwarzer gifted United their opening goal.
When Paul Scholes unleashed a twenty-five yard volley Schwarzer looked to have done the hard work in saving it but somehow the ball spun away from him and into the net. Unfortunately, it wasn`t to be the best of nights for the Australian goalkeeper who has served us so well this season.
Boosted by that early goal it really was backs to the wall stuff for the Fulham rearguard and a second United goal, before halftime, underlined their superiority. The fact that it came after United had strung together a run of in excess of twenty passes before Berbatov slotted home will have the soccer pundits drooling for weeks.
Unfortunately, despite being on the receiving end, you have to hold your hands up and admit it was impressive stuff.
The second half saw Fulham battle hard and Zamora almost ended Van der Sar`s record but his shot went just the wrong side of the post and Vidic got the usual Old Trafford home team decision when Marriner failed to spot a blatant handball in the area.
But, in this Theatre of Dreams, you just knew the stage was set up perfectly for the return of Wayne Rooney and the fact that we were treated to one of his manic grins after he netted the third United goal only served to drive that dagger through our already sagging heart.
Thankfully, you only have to visit Old Trafford once and thankfully we can all look forward to what should be a more evenly matched encounter with West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
As for the current champions, is there anybody out there to stop them making it three titles in a row?
I`d say NO!
Date:Thursday February 19 2009
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