I knew it was going to happen. You knew it was going to happen. The fans in the ground knew it was going to happen. Paul Lambert knew it was going to happen. Obviously, Sir Alex Ferguson knew it was going to happen.
I mean, was there anybody who really thought that Manchester United were not going to beat Aston Villa last Saturday, even when they went 2-0 down at the start of the second half? With all the grim predictability of a John Bishop gag (and just as funny), United came from behind to win yet again in the Premier League and the statistics of their season make for remarkable reading.
The comeback victory at Villa Park was the tenth time that United have fallen behind this season in 17 matches and on eight occasions they have stormed back to win, including five times in the Premier League.
Credit, as always, must go to the Red Devils, who just refuse to be beaten, even when logic suggests they must be. It is a trait they have displayed for 20 years and no matter who the personnel, United always play in Ferguson’s image (by that I mean displaying a will to win rather than red, whiskey-soaked noses).
But this can’t go on, can it? United cannot continue to give leads away and still win, surely? Something has to change at some point, because there will be times, like when they rallied too late in the home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, that the clock and/or fortune will be against them.
United either have to stop giving themselves too much to do or they are bound to come unstuck more often. Which is it to be?
You get the impression that this depends on the return of captain Nemanja Vidic. With the Serbian in the side, defensively United are a different proposition and you could hear Ferguson willing his skipper back when he told reporters this week that he hopes to have Vidic return to the team around Christmas.
United will certainly tighten up then, but until that happens I don’t see much changing and from a betting perspective, the safest thing to do is trust the current status quo to be maintained when United travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich City in Saturday’s evening kick-off.
The red half of Manchester are unsurprisingly 21/50 favourites to pick up another three points, with the draw at 7/2 and the home side at 6/1, but I think it is the 19/20 on United winning with over 2.5 goals scored in the match that has to be taken here.
Norwich have turned a mini-corner recently and are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions as Chris Hughton steadily improves on what was quite a poor start to his reign. The batterings the Canaries took from Fulham, Chelsea and Liverpool do seem quite a distant memory and three wins and two draws is good form, especially when the wins came against Arsenal, Tottenham and Stoke, all at Carrow Road.
But that accepted, you can’t be backing against United. Ferguson’s side have won 14 of their 17 games at home and abroad this season, losing just two in 90 minutes, with 12 of those victories seeing at least three goals.
Most of them have seen many more, with United scoring 44 to nullify the fact they have conceded 26 in that time, and as discussed, even if Norwich were to go ahead they will have more than a nagging doubt in the back of their minds that they can hold on.
There has been an average of 4.11 goals in United’s games this season and with the firepower they possess there is no reason to think it is going to stop. At 19/20, it is worth getting on yet another high-scoring win for the league leaders.
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