Paul Scholes, unmarked, nodding in the winner
Don't let the formal title fool you, I'd really just want to scream "SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLES!"
City 0-1 United
A very tense match at Eastlands started brightly for United, in terms of possession—dominating the early exchanges. However, it was evident throughout the first half that neither side could really overcome the grandeur and stakes of the occasion to really take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Our touted-saviour Wayne Rooney coming back from an injury and evidently still not 100% hardly troubled the City backline in all honesty — bar a glorious opportunity at the end of the first half to make it 1-0 to United. A member of the golden generation Ryan Giggs also had a good chance to give United the lead after good play on the wing by Valencia saw a drilled cross deftly side-footed weakly into the grateful arms of City stopper Shay Given.
The second half saw more urgency in United's play—with the exception of the final few finishing touches, which were still lacking. Scholes, Fletcher and Gibson bossed the midfield throughout the match, closing down and pressing the City midfield, quickly regaining possession and stopping any attacks in the bud.
In a match with very few clear cut chances, Fergie changed his players around, bringing on Nani for Gibson, Berbatov for Rooney, and (what I thought would've been disastrous) Obertan for Valencia.
Ironic how without our two biggest threats over the course of the season, Valencia and Rooney, we finally managed to get the goal - a clipped cross by Evra found the fiery head of Paul Scholes as he beat the keeper and sent the United fans at Eastlands—and glued to their TVs around the world—into raptures. What is it about Manchester derbies and dramatic last-gasp winners?
I think my match re-cap says it all. Though it wasn't a classic by far, United dominated possession but couldn't turn it into chances nor convincing finishes. A near-fit Wayne Rooney wasn't really convincing, as his condition meant he was not his swashbuckling self with his energy, tenacity and determination to get on that ball and past the defence.
Who was I impressed with? Well, at around 88 minutes, when I was dreading yet another 0-0, and Martin Tyler (perhaps helping us with a bit of commentator's curse?) commented that it would be creating history as United had never drawn two consecutive league games 0-0, I was already casting my mind back to this article and to whom I'd give the "Best Player" to.
So. Best Player: Paul Scholes. For his (surprisingly!) well-timed challenges, eager closing down of the City midfield, his unerring vision and the distribution and creation to match, played out of his skin today. For a 35-year-old, that was impressive. Still diving in to tackles, and really giving it everything for the Devils. Oh. And the little matter of scoring the winner after, what I saw on the clock as, 3 minutes of added time played. So here's to the legend that is Paul Scholes!
Where We Stood, Where We Stand
MONUMENTAL NEWS!! I've been lazy and went to sleep after the match last night, only to wake up to the news that Tottenham Hotspur HAVE COME TO UNITED'S RESCUE! By beating Chelsea 2-1 at White Hart Lane, United are BACK IN THE TITLE RACE. One point behind now, with 3 games to go, this race is set to be, as everyone has predicted, the closest finish in the history of the Premier League. And as Amer mentioned, it may come down to goal difference.
Even better news for us, Chelski captain John Terry? Sent off for 2 yellow cards. I'm thinking suspension. And perhaps a problem at the wrong time of the season for Carlo Ancelotti.
So one point the difference, three games to go, United having shut our noisy neighbours up, still to play Spurs, but Chelsea still to play Liverpool, the title race hots up at the crunch of the season, promising the most legendary of climaxes this league has ever seen since its inception 18 years ago. And if they're all late dramatic winners, I wouldn't mind the nail-biting, nervous knee knocking and that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, as long as we walk away with 3 points each time. COME ON LADS!