THINK of the teams that have gone on to win the league, just for fun. The ones that meant something to me because they hurt or they were amazing, go a little like this… Leeds United 1992, hurt like hell. Arsenal 2004, 26 wins 12 draws 90 points with Chelsea’s 79 in second and United’s 75 in third. Blackburn Rovers’ 1995 triumph by just a point from United. City last year on goal difference… we all have our memories as painful and happy as they may be in equal measure and I know there are points in all those seasons mentioned where luck has played a part, but dear reader you need to prepare yourself for a first in the history of the Premier League or any division in history come to think of it.
May of this year will be a first according to Roberto Mancini; if Manchester United win the league title this year it will be because we have had ‘all the luck’ and the table is false.
Never before in the history of sport has the luckiest team gone on to win a league. We must re think everything, Bob the Italian has spoken. Arsenal went through that season unbeaten because they had all the luck, Blackburn beat us to the title because they had all the luck (and, erm, well we didn’t have Eric but….). The team at the top of the league when the medals are handed out are there because they have all the luck.
The league table is not false. False is the belief that you can win the league over the entire season due to ‘all the luck’.
It would be naive and wrong to suggest that luck does not play a part. Ludek had a good day when he kept goal for West Ham that day and United couldn’t find the winning goal they needed, Arsenal were lucky to come out of Old Trafford 0-0 in what eventually would be their ‘invincible’ season – it could have all been so different. We put that right the next season and we sent them on their way but hands up, the team that wins the league may have lucky moments, but they are not there on luck.
No-one is arguing, United have been lucky this season at times, here on Given to Score we have not hidden from that fact or the fact that it will run out. Jokes have been made that United are winning the title race despite themselves, no defence, no goalkeeper, winger crisis, all we could do it seemed at some points was score more goals than the opposition. It worked too. But eventually all the parts had to click and they are doing so at the right time of the season because we have a manager who knows what he is doing and a team who do not want a repeat of The Stadium of Light last year.
1 goal against Fulham and a clean sheet, made to work for it. 2 goals against Everton and a clean sheet, made to work for it. 1-1 draw and an Away goal against Real Madrid, worked for it. 2 goals 1 late reply when Reading made us work for it and a key man went off injured; yesterday 2 goals and a clean sheet. Robin fell in a camera trench, fuck all lucky about that was there?!
How much was luck? Not as much as some would have you believe. February has been about hard work.
Luck has a peculiar habit of favouring those who don’t depend on it.
We’ve been here before, I’ve written about it before. Jose Mourinho spent the entire festive season one year telling anyone who would listen that United were in a false position and Chelsea would emerge victorious. He spoke so long about it his team forgot to do it. False positions, all the luck, cheap shots really. Luck plays a part but quality tells in the end, United lost last year not on the last day, it was lost over a period of months where we just didn’t cut it and City did.
City will just concentrate on winning their games, United likewise on theirs and we will see where the medals are in May.
Best of luck.