Alex Ferguson still doesn’t have a single defensive player he can trust, or a goalkeeper he knows won’t be a culprit in one of the goals Manchester United concede in a match. So what? Comebacks have nothing to do with them. They have everything to do with Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie, brilliant and clutch despite everything that goes on.
Ferguson has seen pretty much everything during his time as a manager at Manchester United, but the topsy turvy manner of this season seems to be stunning even him. The diffrences between highs & lows within minutes of each other time and time again are something no one can expect, no one can get used to. For the ninth time this season, Manchester United have come back from behind to salvage three points.
You always prefer taking the good for matches like this. How Ryan Giggs managed to deliver the right touch at the right time. How Chicharito, after so many misses from close range, finally found the net in usual perfect timing. How Robin van Persie overcame the fact that no attacking midfielder or winger was actually playing any well, and did pretty much everything on offense for United, including scoring the third equalizer of the match.
Above all is the spirit. Ferguson talked about courage and bravery, but it’s probably too bid to define in words. It’s been there this season more than in the past. Impossible to count out, impossible to mentally break. United may have truly bad days in which they’ll eventually lose, but that wasn’t the case against Newcastle. They didn’t play great, and their defense was as leaky and fragile as ever, but the method and attitude was the same. Keep pushing forward, and we know good things will happen.
There’s coming back from 0-3 down, and there’s coming back three times in a single match. I don’t know which one is harder, but even Ferguson admitted, not in so many words, that he thought the third goal by Papiss Cisse was probably too much to overcome. Luckily for Manchester United, defenses are no longer such a strong suit among many Premier League clubs, including Newcastle who never really stand out when it comes to their conceding record, and Robin van Persie is simply unstoppable at the moment.
With Antonio Valenica playing terrible football over the last three matches; with Wayne Rooney out and Ashley Young not playing as well, everything that had to do with creating chances near or in the penalty box fell on the shoulders of the Dutch man, arguably the best player in the Premier League for the second consecutive season. When they needed, he dropped back and helped the midfield build the play. He moved to the wings and provided a passing target and an adequate crosser. He finished with only one goal, his 13th of the season, but it’s hard to see United running for the title or at least be so far ahead in the race if it wasn’t for Van Persie.
Lessons? There are none. Nothing we haven’t seen before, just amplified in the usual dramatic way United have about them this season. So many players under-performing and still this team comes out with a memorable win in an enjoyable match. If that’s not a recipe for a title, I don’t know what is.