High flying United enjoy a Happy Christmas
In the final weeks of 2012, it seems as though Manchester United have been enjoying the Christmas cheer, watching their title rivals fall offf the pace.
Although Chelsea have bounced back with successive victories, they lost valuable ground after axing their coach Roberto Di Matteo and replacing him with Rafa Benitez in an effort to shuffle the pack.
Then Manchester City lost to Sunderland while United came from behind to beat Newcastle 4-3.
United now find themselves seven points clear at the top.
They did well to get all three points against a depleted Newcastle team that applied themselves well, but again somehow someway Alex Ferguson’s team found a way to win.
This sort of stuff often happens around this time of the year when teams are playing three times a week and no one knows what side will show up on the day.
Newcastle are close to the bottom but they have injuries and your squad needs to be near full strength to compete with the top clubs.
When a club play four or five games in the space of three weeks, they need depth in the team in order to get around the inevitable injuries.
One thing that can’t happen in the game is coaches ranting and raving at the fourth official because of a call made on the field, as was the case with Ferguson in the match on Boxing Day.
The rules shouldn’t be any different from a player who gets punished for abusing the referee. If the coach is seen making a fuss and pressuring the referee or his officials, he should be dealt with.
Managers shouldn’t be allowed to confront any of the officials in an angry manner.
Also, Ferguson’s remark about Newcastle being a small club in the north east wasn’t called for. Everyone knows they are a big club and probably the biggest club in that area.
Gareth Bale showed his worth to Tottenham with his hat-trick against Aston Villa and the side will go as far as he takes them. He is a proven player so it will be interesting to see if they can keep him for the long haul and hold off the Indians who will be circling the wagon.
Every top player wants to play at the highest level and Tottenham will be gunning for the Champions League, which they are on course for at the moment and if they can continue to play as they have recently then they can be there in the end fighting for one of the top spots.
One team that is in a ton of trouble is Aston Villa. But they have a young squad and are bringing their youngsters along, so that is a contributing factor. But they need to have a good mix of youth and experience.
This is where they are suffering and they will need to find the blend quickly or will be doomed to relegation.
My West Ham United are middle of the table and play Reading this weekend. It is a winnable game but we have so many injuries it will be interesting to see how we make out.
Our younger players are talented so hopefully they can hang in and keep the ship afloat until we get our senior players back into the fold.