Apr 172010
 

Watching the Manchester derby at lunchtime was a surreal experience. On the one hand, I can’t stand the thought of Chelsea reclaiming the Premiership, with John Terry perhaps lifting the trophy as part of a double. So in theory, I wanted United to win. But that in itself feels entirely alien, especially as it would allow Spurs back into Champions League contention, which no doubt would result in another small-minded DVD.

So when Scholes’ goal defeated City in injury time, part of me celebrated. And then part of me felt hideously dirty.

That gave Spurs a great incentive to defeat Chelsea, and they duly obliged, opening up the league once again. Sadly, following our midweek defeat, we will be unable to capitalise. When you consider the goal difference gulf, United have to drop three points and Chelsea four before the end of the season – the latter have a trip to Liverpool left, but their other two games are bankers, while United’s run-in looks fairly simple from here.

So while United’s win was good for anyone who considers them a lesser evil than Chelsea, it does probably render our challenge for either of the top two spots futile, even with four wins out of four. Still, it must be taken into account that third is far beyond the predictions of many at the start of the season, and it allows us to avoid carrying a game in hand for half of next season due to Champions League qualifiers.

In some ways, our season feels over, but in recent years, we’ve actually played pretty well once that has been confirmed. The down side is that the pitch at the JJB will prevent us playing any kind of football tomorrow, and as we saw at Birmingham we can struggle under those circumstances. Throw in fresh injuries to Vermaelen and Denilson and it will be a tough ask.

But every time we’ve been written off this season, we’ve bounced back. Even though the fat lady probably has sung, the players won’t give in, and I see a narrow victory tomorrow. You can get 15/2 on a 2-1 victory at Sportingbet, and that is my bet of the day.

Elsewhere, much of the talk is inevitably about transfers. The summer is long and painful enough without extending it, but that doesn’t seem to stop people turning their minds to that tedious subject now that our season is fizzling out. In reality, not much is being said – Wenger would not confirm who will be our number one keeper next season (but is not ruling Almunia out), says we need to improve our defending, and has repeated his claim that Cesc will stay.

Frankly, I don’t see where the stories are, and I have absolutely no interest in joining in the speculation at this stage. We have three months of that to come.

There are still points to be won, and even though it would take a monumental collapse from our rivals to let us back in, neither of them look convincing, so you just never know. The feeling of what might have been is strong enough already without adding to it by blowing another chance.

So forget transfers, forget analysing the strengths and weaknesses of our squad, and think about the football. Starting with Wigan.

  13 Responses to “United’s last gasp win all but condemns us to third before Spurs stir hope”

  1. damn, living in Manchester and seeing utd winning makes me rather sad. I’d like to see manu to get beat as much as possible, and chelsea get the title or i have to take abuse from my friends who support united

  2. The Wigan pitch has been re layed recently so at least we won’t be playing on a ploughed field…that’s one less excuse though!!

  3. From what I gather, the pitch has torn up badly again since the relaying, so it still isn’t in a particular good condition.

  4. really sad and depressing knowing that if we had drawn against chelsea at the Emirates and not drop points against brum or west ham we would have been odds on for the league ,really sad

  5. How knows what can happen 2moro.
    Up Gunners.

  6. Who knows what can happen 2moro.
    Up Gunners.

  7. How you can write such twaddle about supporting Manure in any capacity as a Gooner doesn’t sit well with any real supporter, include myself. Who says you have to take any side or give a shite?

  8. I stil convinced that we wil take the championship

  9. Cannot believe you wanted united to win. It’s the lack of faith from fellow gooners that has annoyed me all season.

    From the start of the season until it’s not mathematically possible I will continue to believe that we can win the league. Call it deluded optimism or faithfully loyalty, Chelsea and United are both bad enough that we can still steal this. Come on the Arsenal!!

  10. For the last couple of commenters, know that I am among the more optimistic.

    The reasons for wanting United to win were multiple – City would be deflated for our match with them next week, and more importantly, Spurs would be motivated to beat Chelsea, who we need to drop a lot more points than United.

    Do you see?

  11. I saw the ref smiling at half time. Maybe he wanted MU to win the title. You can never rule that the ref is the ally of the red faced.
    How was it the ref who added extra time for the red faced to win the first Manchester derby chosen over another one.If it is to perpetuate Mu winning the title,it is a well done referee job.
    I have my doubts about the intergrity of these guys in black.Maybe we will know the truth 100 years time.

  12. Am I the only one who think Arsenal still have a chance?? We win tonight, were 3 points off Chelsea, if Chelsea lose to Liverpool and man u lose to sp*rs, then the title will come down to the last day of the season. There’s still slight hope!!

  13. There is still hope, Steve, but it is very slight – the trouble with Chelsea is that their other two games look really easy.

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