When you don’t score goals, you take what you get, and as it happens, Manchester United usually get favors from referees and linesman, giving Robin van Persie a chance not only to score his second goal in so many matches, something we forgot he can do, but also salvage a draw to help keep the pressure off of them, while Shinji Kagawa enjoyed one of his better games for the Red Devils.
The 2-2 draw at Upton Park was a reminder that United, while losing pace and slowing down in their ability as the season is winding down as well, still remember how to get a point or two despite being in a losing position twice in the match. They’ve now picked up 28 points this season while conceding first, and when you try to figure out how have they built up such a huge lead at the top of the Premier League, you’ll end up with resiliency and Robin van Persie’s form for most of the season, because actual football ability has nothing to do with it.
West Ham dragged the league leaders into a physical, bruising match; their only way to have a chance against the visiting team. Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa were on the pitch together, but it meant Rooney played a bit further from goal, helping Michael Carrick and Phil Jones in the middle of the field, while the moments of brilliance and creativity came from the Japanese player.
First it was his assist to Antonio Valencia with some nice feigns inside the box to free him up, and then came his shot to the crossbar, strolling along the line before being met by Robin van Persie for the 2-2. Van Persie was offside, but as football remains in medieval times when it comes to technology uses, there wasn’t much to do about another official mistake.
United don’t seem like a team with too much of plan. Trying to secure the early goal, hopefully getting it and then simply trying to pass the time. Losing the points late last season is still something Alex Ferguson thinks of, but it seems his team, when it comes to actual quality of football, is running on fumes. Luckily for them, Manchester City are still 13 points away from them, possibly 10 at best with five matches left to go.
Despite the impressive lead at the table, this won’t be remembered as an impressive title. Maybe that’s where Ferguson’s greatness resides. In his ability to make the most of a team that seemed to be flawed and plagued with some other problem at different points of the season. Some of his answers were simply to let go of the reins and let individual abilities of his forwards take over. But he always had one, sometimes finding a way to bring it through his players instead of some tactical ingenuity, which isn’t Ferguson’s strongest aspect. Whatever it was, it’ll end with silverware.