‘The save of the season’. I remember seeing a picture of former United striker Mark Robins scoring a goal, with this subtitle. Curiosity got the better of me. How could a goal be a save? It was in fact the one goal of the game vs Nottingham Forest in 1987, the goal that not only saved United’s season, but much more importantly Alex Ferguson’s job. I recalled this incident on seeing the United players swarming around Eric Bailly at the end of yesterdays’ match vs Villa. His totemic, colossal, match-winning block from Keinan Davis at the death told you everything. The Ivorian’s ‘save’ ensured United came away with 3 points, putting pressure on Liverpool, with United now on equal points at the top with Merseysiders at the halfway point of 2020-21. The latter have a superior goal difference, 17 to United’s 9.
Solskjaer’s appears to have reborn and revitalized this Manchester United side. They have got themselves into a position of contention, almost un-noticed, creeping under the radar to move level at the top. United are now 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League have also won 10 games this season, to Liverpool’s 9. United had trailed Liverpool by nine points when they last tasted defeat against Arsenal on November 1.
Worth also mentioning the influence of Bruno Fernandes. Since his debut in February, Bruno has been directly involved in 33 goals in 30 games in the Premier League (19 goals, 14 assists). The Portuguese tally of 14 assists in 30 games is the quickest a player has arrived at that total in the competition’s history.
Man of the Match has to be Eric Bailly, if only for the incredible block in those dramatic final seconds that ensured the win. He cleared a lot of the danger time and time again, was positive in possession and justified his fourth straight start by keeping Watkins quiet for large periods. The way United’s players celebrated with him at the final whistle said it all. He’s been out for a long time, so good to see him shaking off the rust.
United have now won more games on New Year’s Day than any other side in the history of the English Football League (36).
Article contributed by Contributor Kenneth. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.