We always talk about football being a game of fine margins between success and failure. It’s so true. Despite an encouraging performance from Manchester United on Sunday, a defeat and the season would have been in tatters. But, while the win was ideally needed, the draw gives Manchester United encouragement. They could easily have won the game but didn’t give up after going behind – there were portents of progress again.
And we must also remember that Manchester United were without their most important player of the present and perhaps their most important of the future.
Wayne Rooney has seen out the last game of his ban and Manchester United are always a more substantial team with him in it. Juan Mata has failed to grasp the nettle in Rooney’s absence and he’s likely to make way this weekend in the derby.
We would also love to think that Radamel Falcao will be back after the training injury to his shin. He’s had a stop start season but we strongly believe that, when he does get a run in the team, he will be the star of the show.
It’s more likely that RvP will start on his own up top away at City with Rooney in behind. Falcao will hopefully be fit enough to make a cameo and add impetus at an important time in the game for Manchester United.
The other big decision is whether to continue with Marouane Fellaini or to throw Michael Carrick in at the deep end. Despite the often clumsy manner of the former he is likely to keep his place due to superior fitness and probably deserving another run out after his decent double display last week.
Phil ‘Rag doll’ Jones looks as if he’s out for another couple of weeks so Smalling will continue to deputise after a good game against Chelski.