May I be the amongst the first to prematurely wish you a happy New Year? All the happier for United’s win at Burnley on Saturday night, of course, which left us occupying the dizzying heights of fifth place.
The return of the Premier League always provokes mixed feelings. On the down side, it heralds the onset of long winter nights with nothing to do but watch football; on the up side, it heralds the onset of long winter nights with nothing to do but watch football.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may well experience first-hand tonight the gulf in class that currently exists between his Manchester United side and their treble-chasing neighbours but, regardless of the result, the club’s new manager is already searingly honest in his appraisal of their standing in the English game.
There has been plenty of talk of Liverpool ‘bottling’ this title race, largely from those who wish ill upon them. But we can put that to one side for now. Facing Chelsea at Anfield, five years after Steven Gerrard’s fateful slip and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough, created a pressure that would make many teams crumble. But not them.
It is part of Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s much-vaunted “DNA” for the club to do everything with a healthy pinch of drama and, based on the way his 10 men toiled in defeat at Molineux last night, the chase for the Champions League this season will be no different.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s magical reign as Manchester United boss survived its biggest test to date at St James’ Park last night, his second- half substitute Romelu Lukaku scoring with his first touch of the game and helping to write his interim manager into the record books.