If ever a game screamed out nil-nil tactical bore fest where each team attempts to win the game by lulling the opposition into a sleep induced coma, it’s this weekend’s FA Cup final.
We’d all like to believe United will maraud all over the Chelsea defence in an attacking display that makes the 99 treble-winning team look like a side managed by the bastard child of Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce – but it’s highly unlikely.
United under Jose Mourinho are nothing if not pragmatic but the best performances by the Reds this season, the ones which have resulted in wins over the likes of City, Spurs and to a lesser extent Liverpool have been when the team have thrown away the keys to the bus and gone for it.
Yes, the defensive nous Mourinho is famed for came in extremely handy when protecting a lead against Liverpool but the most memorable performances were the ones where United had no choice but to attack the opposition with a sense of urgency.
The game at the Etihad was a perfect example of how underused, underestimated and under the influence of sedatives United’s attack has been this season.
With thousands of yellow bananas being inflated and a small section of Deansgate being cordoned off for the parade, City’s victory plans had to be out on hold as Paul Pogba awoke from his first half stupor and dragged the rest of his team with him.
It was awe-inspiring, it was exciting, it was also bloody infuriating we’d seldom seen such attacking abandon in the United side since a few also-rans were put to the sword at the start of the season.
More of this approach and less of the one you took to places such as Brighton, Anfield and West Ham please Mr Mourinho.
The difficulty this season, hasn’t been the tedious football, the baffling lack of consistency or even Mourinho’s determination to destroy the souls of some of his charges.
No, the real problem lies in what our rivals have achieved or could be on the verge of achieving. City walking the league in such a manner it’s created yet another cringe worthy moniker that both their fans and the fawning media revel in, is bad enough. Throw in the potential for the Scousers to make it six Champions Leagues and you can almost understand the recent rant doing the rounds featuring one furious fan declaring a flirtation with suicide.
Some punters may even soften the blow by taking advantage of RedArmyBet’s special bet Horrible May – United not to lift the FA Cup and Real Madrid not to lift the Champions League at 7/2.
A second-placed finish and an FA Cup final represents a massive step towards where United need to be, normally 81 points in the post-Fergie era would be uplifting but unfortunately thanks to City this is anything but a normal season. As we’re constantly being reminded.
I suppose we should try not to be so disdainful towards our neighbours’ achievements – after all, we accused City fans of being bitter during our 20-year reign of dominance, the least we can do is be a bit more gracious during their nine-month one.
Regardless of our rivals’ successes, winning the FA Cup would give United the perfect end to a less than perfect season and build upon the positives that have come from finishing second in the table for the first time since Sir Alex retired.
RedArmyBet are offering several special bets on the game including United to win to nil at 53/20 which going off recent encounters between the sides may attract quite a few punters.
For those of you who can’t resist the urge to have one eye on the Champions League final, probably wearing a Real Madrid scarf and chanting Viva Ronaldo repeatedly then the Perfect May bet, United/Real Madrid to win their respective finals at 9/4 could be ideal.
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A win for United this Saturday could buy Mourinho the time he needs among some of the fans who’ve been less than enamoured with his brand of football, a loss and finishing second in a one-horse race could leave him entering next season on the defensive – and no one wants to see that.