Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Michael Buble sings Christmas providing some festive ambience and Manchester United top of the league. A very idealistic view of Christmas day afternoon in the Goldbridge household but two of those scenarios should become a reality – And to give you a clue which two, I’ll struggle to roast a chocolate finger on my gas fire let alone a chestnut.
Starting with Watford away this Saturday lunchtime, Manchester United have a run of five games to Christmas Day that really should see us top of the league way before we all settle down to watch the Queen’s speech – Spoiler Alert! Apparently it’s a good one this year and involves lightsabers and an army of bad ass corgis.
Back to United top of the league though, stay with me on this one I’m not light headed from an early binge of mince pies and babycham. Watford away, Leicester away, West Ham home, Bournemouth away, Norwich at home. Those last three fixtures have to be nine points straight away no matter how poor the football might be under LVG. We already know West Ham are without Payet but even so West Ham and Norwich at home has to be six points for a side like ours. Then Bournemouth away shouldn’t pose any problems – they’re struggling like John Terry in a spelling test adapting to the Premier League. On top of that they’ve lost a couple of their best players with long term injuries.
So nine points are in the bag straight away – he says with all the confidence of Stevie Wonder on a tightrope. Moving on to Watford at the weekend, as harsh it may sound it has to be three points. With the players we have compared to them anything less than a win is a failure. Yes Watford are well drilled but let’s not start making excuses, they’re one of the favourites to go down and we should be challenging for the title.
That means twelve points from the next fifteen and leaves us with the Leicester game the week after next. Admittedly Leicester are doing very well but we should be looking to go and win. Especially after the disaster of last year. Yes I can hear fans saying “Don’t be so optimistic” and “Stop jinxing us before we’ve kicked a ball” but to those fans I say this. Remember who we are. We’re Manchester United and we should one hundred per cent be looking at these games and saying anything less than maximum points is a missed opportunity a club like ours should always be grasping. With Arsenal playing City in these next five games and United only two points off the top, if we do what we should do and win the next five we’ll be where we be like Shakin Stevens in 1985 – Christmas number one.
Of course the funny thing will be if the football doesn’t improve and we grind out five dire one nil wins and remain near the bottom of the league when it comes to chances created. Personally I’d still be happier than an Arsenal fan in fourth place. Van Gaal won’t be sacked, he’s here for another year and a half and even if the football is bad surely it’s better that we win that way? The way I look at it is if LVG improves the style of play great, if he doesn’t and we keep winning then he’s like a bag of revels – sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s coffee. But ultimately he’s got a shelf life and he won’t be here in two years.
So let’s buck the trend this Christmas United. Let’s not be in a giving mood. Because if we do what all know we can do it will be a very Happy Christmas sat on top of the tree. With no Angel….
By Mark Goldbridge