If, at some time in the future, you are looking at previous results, you will just see that Manchester United beat Everton today at Old Trafford by 2-0. On the face of it, that is a reasonably comfortable result. However, there is always an element of menace about Everton these days. That is why they are on the verge of a top four finish. They are no mugs! Today, Sir Alex Ferguson took a risk. He gambled that with Manchester City losing yesterday, a win against Everton would open up a twelve point gap at the top of the league table, and history tells you that no team has ever been able to surmount such a lead in the space of only twelve games. However, he also knew that his team had to play against one of the best club sides in the world at their own ground i.e. Real Madrid, in the Champions League knockout stage in three days’ time. So does he play a strong team against Everton and risk injury or tiredness, or does he rest some of his best players and risk not winning against Everton and losing momentum in the title race.
Fortunately, for Manchester United fans, Sir Alex has had this dilemma many times before, so he knew what to do and he played a strong team against Everton. Once United were two goals in front he started to substitute players to give them the require rest, thereby gaining the best of both worlds. They also say that fortune favours the brave and so it seemed when the Everton centre back Silvain Distin was injured in the warm up with just minutes to go before kick off! That meant a last minute change with Johnny Heitinga having to play at centre back instead. That one minute change made all the difference. All of a sudden, Everton coach David Moyes` plans go out of the window.
To give credit to United, they set out against Everton from the very first minute with a plan to stop Fellaini, who had destroyed United`s makeshift defence at Goodison Park at the beginning of the season. The plan worked and in the second half, Fellaini reverted to his familiar midfield role, but the damage had already been done. De Gea had to make a couple of superb saves, but apart from them, he had little to do. Goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin Van Persie sealed the victory for United.
Manchester United now go to Spain for their encounter with Real Madrid in the knowledge that saving a disaster on a titanic scale, they will be crowned champions come May.
It is FA Cup next weekend with a home tie against lowly Reading, who will want to concentrate on staying in the Premier League rather than some prolonged cup run.
With a bit of luck with the draws for the next rounds, United may well be on course for another treble winning season. Watch this space!