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United’s Special Mentality Earned The Three Points On Saturday

Face with a very dreadful circumstance before them, Manchester United showed the class and character that willed them to the 1-0 victory over Bolton at Old Trafford. With their backs completely against the wall, the Reds, like they have always done, stepped up their game to another level, and, that alone, will be the sole attribute that will dictate the eventual home of Barclays Premier League league trophy this season.

After enduring such a tough spell of matches in three different competitions, which would have crippled lesser clubs, the Reds, even though they have been bruised, have showed resiliency as they continue to battle and overcome adversity. With two weeks to rest their heads and lick their wounds, the Reds now begin to prepare for the final couple of hair-raising turns of the roller coaster ride of the season.

Without Sir Alex Ferguson on the bench, the players, including the two influential substitutes, knew that the manager would have a bird’s eye view of the pitch to pick apart their performances – which, on the whole, was quite poor before the halftime whistle. To their credit though, the intent and desire of the United players left on the pitch changed for the second half as they put in a very positive performance from there.

That underlines the problem with United so far this season, though, which is the fact that they have been unable to muster a solid performance in both halves and consistent run of good form – and that is taking into consideration the fact that the Reds started the season going 24 games unbeaten.

Results like the one against Bolton, should give the Reds a boost of confidence and morale – especially with the amount of injuries that have depleted Sir Alex Ferguson’s back-line, which, frustratingly, increased against the Trotters. With Rafael, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all on the treatment table and Gary Neville retired, the last thing that Ferguson wanted was one of the emergency stand-in replacements to not be able to hold down the fort while they recover back to full health.

Chris Smalling, who has been a like-for-like change for Ferdinand, has made eight starts in the last nine games, including seven straight, and the young central defender has done admirably well seamlessly filling in. However, the Gaffer was forced see his team become even shorter at the back, and finish of the match short one man to boot, but that still did not stop his team short of getting all three points, though.

Sir Alex was resigned to replace Wes Brown at halftime, but his facial expression went from concerned to grimace when Jonny Evans was sent off, which means that he will miss United’s next three matches in both the Premier League. Brown, who had a well documented falling out with the Gaffer, offered Sir Alex versatility to select him at either at center-back or at right full-back, which the manager went for the latter.

Disappointingly, that option last only 45 minutes, which the after effects were felt 14 minutes from time when Evans received his marching orders from Andre Marriner for his part in a very aggressive 50/50 challenge with Stuart Holden. Holden had a huge gash on his knee by Evans’ studs, but, unlike Jamie Carragher’s wild lunge on Nani, both players only had eyes for the ball, and it was unfortunate for the American to have been caught.

At the same end, the referee refused to give United the clearest of penalties when Hernandez’s goal-bound shot was deflected out for a corner by the trailing, out-of-place arm of Gary Cahill. The poor officiating going against United is just of a conspiracy, but there is no doubting the fact that Marriner has never been kind the Reds as he sent Paul Scholes off against Tottenham for two very questionable yellow cards last season.

In such a tight, tight title race, United are going to need their fans, both home and away, to get behind the team and give them that extra little bit in the run-in, and against Bolton they did just that. To offset the bias of the referee, the supporters, including Sir Alex, inside of Old Trafford really got behind the Reds and urged them to get all three points against a very resilient Bolton team.


Even though the supporters raised United from the death, according to Sir Alex, some of them continue to overlook the solid contribution of Michael Carrick in the center of the midfield. Not known as an energetic, box-to-box midfielder, Carrick proved against Bolton that he is able to chip in with a robust performance if need be.

With Darren Fletcher out injured and Paul Scholes suspended, Sir Alex selected him and Ryan Giggs to operate in the engine room for United, and on numerous occasions Carrick bailed his partner out. Giggs’ movement and influence was restricted, and he gave the ball away a few times in the second half, but Carrick showed willingness to put in a well-timed, non-physical challenge to win the ball back.

In the end, it was a deserved win for the Reds, based solely on the idea that United was the more positive team after they went down a man, which sees them go five points clear at the top of the table. Amazingly, there have been so many season-defining matches for Manchester United already, but every single player must fully understand that they will be asked to play a vital role over their eight remaining Premier League fixtures.

Watch highlights from Man Utd 1-0 Bolton

Submitted by The United Religion

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