Monday, May 9, 2011

Manchester United Sit On The Verge Of 19th Title After Destroying Chelsea

Manchester United sit on the verge of a record 19th title, thanks to a devastating win over their closest rivals, Chelsea, at Old Trafford. In truth the game was over from as early as 35 seconds after Javier Hernandez raced onto Ji-Sung Park's through ball to calmly slot the opener past Petr Cech.

Nemanja Vidic doubled the Red Devils' lead midway through the first half and from there there was no looking back. Frank Lampard restored some pride for the shell-shocked Pensioners with a late goal, but the damage had already been done by United who literally blew their opponents away with a first half performance of guile, pace, attacking ambition, and sheer hard work.

To claim their title, Alex Ferguson's team now only need one point from their final two games against local rivals Blackburn and Blackpool.

Alex Ferguson is about to claim his 12th league title with United, and has undoubtadly lived up to the promise of "knocking Liverpool off their perch." The 69-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and taking an early retirement and the manner of his team's latest victory has sent a message out to every manager who tries to emulate him - not least Jose Mourinho.

Faced with a do or die match against their closest rivals where the winners would literally take all, Alex Ferguson chose to face Chelsea head on and take the game to his illustrious opponents. United tore into the Blues with a performance of breath taking simplicity where every single player played like the game was their last and literally sweated blood for the cause.

Their adventurous play in the face of potential catastrophe was a joy to watch and sends a signal to Ferguson's would be successors that negative destructive play will not be tolerated at Old Trafford under any circumstances.

The way United took the game to Chelsea with Ferguson's tactics was in direct contrast to the way Real Madrid recently played against Barcelona and is a reminder that honesty, hard work and ambition are the way to win leagues, titles, and major matches.

The result was no less than the Red Devils deserved after a first half performance that left Chelsea floundering and scratching their collective heads. Such was the dominance of United that Carlo Ancelotti was forced into making two substitutions at half time in an effort to just get into the game never mind actually winning it.

Playing a traditional 4-4-2 United out-thought, out-fought, and completely out-flanked Chelsea whose manager now faces the very real prospect of looking for a new job come the summer.
"We got a great start," said a jubilant Ferguson after the match. "It was a good team performance. When we gave the ball away for their goal the fans helped us by playing their part. Credit to the players because they deserved it."
"We do it all the time. We could have scored about six in the second half. You expect a tough game against Chelsea and we got that," added the Scot. 
"To be the most successful team [in English football] is fantastic," he said. 
"Knowing the players they won't muck it up," said Ferguson. "They will get a point there's no doubt about that." (United needs one point from the remaining six available) 
"I would not have believed it. The minute we won that first title in 1993 the door opened, and we've been involved in the first two all throughout that period - it's a fantastic achievement."

An obviously unhappy Carlo Ancelotti conceded that the game was over after Hernandez's opening strike.

"In the first minute we lost it [the game]," he said. "We started so badly, it was difficult after that to come back and win. 
"The second half was better but in general United played better and deserved to win. We took a lot of time to clear our heads [after their first goal] because we didn't want to start the game by conceding a goal. 
"United were really strong so it was difficult to come back."

For Alex Ferguson, the win justifies his footballing philosophy and outlook. Since taking over as manager of the club in 1986 he has re-modled the United way to mirror Sir Matt Busby's all attack outlook whilst combining it with a never say die attitude.

"For the last 17 or 18 years it's been Arsenal and Chelsea as our nearest challengers, and the last few years it's been Chelsea. Arsenal made a great attempt this year but them losing [at Stoke] has finalised it. 
"It took time to get the foundations of the club right and after we got the first title we improved, improved and improved."

Roll on number 20...