THIS was the month of the header and the 1:0 victory. It seemed that in September we progressed, if only a little, from a spluttering start to one that was consistent whilst still not being the most fluent displays ever.
Yet while everyone was moaning about our lack of fire power, our defence emerged as one of the strongest. Everyone had been focused on the fact that we often had only a 1 in the goals for column, while forgetting the fact that week after week this month we constantly had 0 in goals against.
We did enough against Sunderland at the beginning of the month, Danny Higginbotham played like a man possessed, perhaps looking to prove a point against his old manager. Anderson ran his socks off, as Anderson seems to do, and the points headed for United courtesy of Louis Saha’s head.
Nemanja showed the way for the strikers when he broke Everton with a bullet header at Goodison to record the third of our 1:0 score lines, before an emotional return to Sporting Lisbon for Ronaldo who scored the only goal of the game against his former club, with another header.
The Chelsea game came and went, or rather Jose went and Chelsea came to the home of the Champions looking completely lost. Manchester United benefited from some key decisions, largely the sending off of Mikel. That may have been fortunate but in this game of swings and roundabouts there were unpunished incidents against United players elsewhere in this game so you could say it all evens out, if the referee tries to even it, that is.
The Saha penalty is a non debate in my eyes, no I don’t think he should have done the dying swan after contact was made but the fact of the matter is contact was made. Nowhere does it say in the rules that a penalty award will be reversed if the fouled player makes an idiot of himself with his reaction.
The drama of the referee display was all we had to focus on in this match that lacked the usual spark from this encounter.
United’s only blip this month was a rather catastrophic performance from our youngsters against Coventry City. A lot of the team that night were young and inexperienced but this was their big night and many of them got stage fright. I hope they can recover from the disappointment of their individual displays because from what we have seen in other games, at least some of the players on show that night do have ability. The school report for these lads reads ‘can and must do better’.
So we end the month as we began, with a 1:0 score line in favour of the Premiership Champions. Premiership champions is what we are, and though we have not yet played like them we are certainly going in the right direction.
Our goalkeeper and defence should be praised, Ronaldo is looking good and Michael Carrick has impressed me also. We are managing to mask some fairly average performances by still getting the results.
So while we are getting the results we cannot complain. It could be worse, we could be Chelsea supporters!