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Manchester United are on the cusp of an achievement unparalleled in the history of the English game.  While the world wonders in amazement how a team shunned by critics and even questioned by peers came so far, one doesn’t need to travel miles to find the answers.

Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 ORA is where all the queries meet their solution.  For years now Ferguson’s red army has intimidated and frightened opposition into submission at the hallowed Theatre of Dreams; however, never has the force seemed as insurmountable as in the ongoing league campaign. Man United have invariably unleashed a different animal every time they have stepped foot on the Old Trafford turf.  Home advantage in sporting competitions has always been a key factor, but no one has driven home the advantage in such ruthless and awe-inspiring manner than Fergie’s present United side. It no longer seems just an advantage, playing at Old Trafford is almost an assurance of victory for the men in Red.

Remember the days when you could play with a cheat code on your play station, opposition couldn’t beat you come rain or snow, well Ferguson seems to have hacked that cheat code. A Man United victory at the Theatre of Dreams seems more certain than death and taxes; its lingering inevitability never cease to amaze one and all. ‘When’ rather than ‘will’ is the question to be asked and the answer is invariably found within the 90 minutes of regulation or 5 minutes of ‘Fergie’ time.

 

Old Trafford- home sweet home!

Stats don’t lie; even if they did, it’s impossible to look upon Man United’s stupendous home form in lesser light.

  • Man United have collected 52 of the 54 points on offer at Old Trafford so far. Only West Brom have managed to earn a single point at the fortress.
  • United have scored 45 goals in league at Old Trafford this season and conceded a miserly 10. 
  • No opposition player has scored in the first half at the Theatre of Dreams, a mind numbing stat to say the least.

Although United have ridden the crest of the wave at their backyard in seasons gone by, this campaign has brought inevitability like never before. Probably the Stretford End has risen to the challenge and almost taken upon themselves to guide the team through. Perhaps the fans have felt that this team needs all the support they get and may be more – volume has been maximised and prawn sandwiches have been thrown out.

Sir Alex has called on the Old Trafford crowd on more than one occasion this season, and Ferguson’s pleas haven’t gone unanswered by the reds in attendance, who have responded with an imperious support. 

“When we get to the nitty-gritty stage of a competition, our fans always respond. The volume from the crowd goes up, and all the players will tell you that it helps enormously. I’m banking on you!

So, once again, I ask you to make Old Trafford a cauldron of noise this evening, I know we take you on a rollercoaster of emotion sometimes, and occasionally leave it late to pull something out of a game..but you know we never give in. It’s a quality built into our genes and it’s part of United’s history which is important.” – Sir Alex Ferguson seeking comfort from the home support.

Ferguson and Old Trafford- a match made in heaven!

  Let’s look back on some match days from the season when Old Trafford faithful got us through and days when the players made the ‘theatre’ stand up and dance to their tune:

Man United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers:

The common consensus this season has been that the current United side lacks the “X factor”; the media has been adamant that the fantasy is surely missing. However, ‘what constitutes beautiful football‘ is debatable as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Having said that, nobody could fault United’s cutting edge on a night when they turned on the style. In a display reminiscent of Ferguson’s maverick side’s of yester years, Man United produced such an astonishing display of attacking football that it left fans and foes almost in daze and bewilderment. Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the night; the Bulgarian produced a five star performance that made Sam Allerdyce’s Blackburn side seem like a pub X1.  

Man United 3-2 Liverpool:

The rivalry between the two giants of the English game is known to all and sundry. United had begun the season almost in second gear with a string of draws, snatching draws from the jaws of victory on more than one occasion. After Dimitar Berbatov’s brace had given United what seemed an insoluble lead, Liverpool found parity with their captain Steven Gerrard of all people scoring twice. As realization of yet another draw dawned on United, Dimitar Berbatov produced a moment of pure magic that sent the millions of Red Devils all over the world in a sense of hysteria and disbelief. After the most brilliant of overhead kicks against the fiercest of rivals, United had found their ‘Macheda’ moment of the season; well, we didn’t know what was to come, did we? 

Dimistar shining at Old Trafford!

 

Man United 2-1 Man City

Make no mistakes – City have arrived and each Manchester Derby from here on will be “massive” to say the least. Roberto Mancini’s City side arrived at the home of Red Devils still harbouring dreams of a possible league triumph. The ‘Blue half of Manchester’ dreamt of a famous win and in the process halting United’s charge towards the title. Nani’s brilliant composure and skill got United the breakthrough, however disaster struck as City equalized with a huge slice of luck as David Silva scored off his backside without even meaning to do so. Old Trafford responded with various retentions of the 34 years chant; however, nothing seemed to work though. Just when all seemed lost, our forlorn hero chose to rise again.  Wayne Rooney, who had been seeking redemption, found his voice again. The erstwhile boy-wonder produced arguably United’s moment of the season, and from nowhere Man United scored the goal that broke City’s resilience. On days such as these, even the most ardent of atheist wouldn’t surely rule out divine intervention.

Man United 2-1 Wolves

On paper this would surely appear to be a United win all day long; however, after the team sheets were out the balance had swung back towards a more even contest. Manchester United were struggling on the injury front and the front three included the likes of Obertan and the hitherto unproven Hernandez. Owen Hargreaves made a surprising comeback to United’s starting X1, but Hargo couldn’t last more than 10 minutes into the game and had to be replaced by the shockingly poor Bebe. Wolves dominated for large quarters of the game, and even though United took the lead through Park Ji Sung, Wolves equalized and were looking ominous on the break. Man United looked to have surrendered two valuable home points as injury time beckoned at Old Trafford. The diminutive South Korean had other ideas – Park Ji-sung struck a stoppage time winner to give Sir Alex Ferguson a perfect 24th anniversary present as a Manchester United manager and brought down the roof over Old Trafford.  Man United had found a way yet again, when none seemed to exist.

Man United 2-1 Chelsea

This was The Title Decider – a ‘winner-takes-it-all’ affair. This was the day when United showed the world who the boss was; the doubters and naysayers were made to eat their words and critics begrudgingly had to nod in admiration. The two best teams in the country met and Sir Alex’s Man United drove home the advantage with a perfect exhibition of swift and decisive attack, assorted with impermeable defensive display. On this day, wheat was separated from the chaff, the champions were separated from the pretenders. Man United stood tall, while Chelsea will have to settle for the runner up places.