Last Saturday, the red half of Manchester cheered and screamed as Nikica Jelavic’s deflected strike looped over Joe Hart and entered the Manchester City net to seal a 2-0 win for Everton. Personally, it was a very intriguing moment.
I felt happy, relieved and yet worried at the same time. I cannot tell why but what I was sure of was that, the Red Devils were going to have a clearer understanding of the rest of the Premier League season.
My joy was founded on the fact that the same team that hit us so hard and crippled our march to the title was the same team stabbing Manchester City in the chest and giving us a wonderful opportunity to win the magical title number 20. I must admit that I leapt and screamed “Yes!!!” when the second goal was scored.
I am sure the players did similar things but I believe there is still some work to do before we can truly say that the title is coming back. The fixture list is full of reminders of how treacherous the EPL can be and only a hundred percent effort in all the games can give the team the title that was lost due to an eight-goal difference.
Trips to Sunderland, Arsenal, and West Ham will never be easy and we have the benefit of history to guide and provide us with pointers as to how they could go. The London visits to Arsenal and West Ham will be difficult because of how intense past games have been.
In the 2010/2011 season, an Aaron Ramsey goal beat us and made the home tie to Chelsea more challenging but we won 2-1 and last season, the Gunners pushed us all the way but we prevailed 2-1.
The Hammers have given us more than a fixture once this season in the FA Cup and going there again for a league game will only be another tough encounter. Late winners and equalisers have been scored there and we must be prepared to do same if need be.
Home games against Chelsea and Man City will be the most important moments of this last two or so months of the season but all out commitment will see us through. The Man City game will be a very perfect moment to close the deal, complete a double over the Citizens and get some cold revenge for last season’s tears.
Stoke (away) and Swansea (home) will also be challenging for the team and there must be no masking of this truth.
This is the time when performances must be at their peaks, attitudes must be right and the atmosphere and aura round the team should be very positive. Every game is a title decider and every opponent must be seen as dangerous. Maybe we will get a slice of luck with Man City slipping further behind but that is an assumption and in title races, assumptions are not part of the main mix.
Fortunate breaks just pass by every now and then but we must be ready to climb on those moments and inch closer to the title.
We have come this far and we cannot let it slip.
Let’s bring the title home!!!