Things are rolling along just nicely aren't they?
A derby win, another clean sheet and top of the league with a 100% record for the first time in sixteen years has definitely fired optimism (not to mention enthusiasm) even more.
For me, the game itself seemed to go by fairly quickly and the only heart-stopping moment was the corner that flashed across the face of the goal before Tevez headed wide. This despite us being dominated in terms of possession and territory for almost all of the game.
I dispute the ascertion that we were lucky though. I don't think you can put a defensive performance like that in and be labelled lucky, and I don't recall United peppering the goal or Kaspar Schmeichel being forced into save after save.
United passed the ball around well and built up nicely with both Scholes and Giggs seeing plenty of the ball and Nani looked threatening early on as Corluka had no help from Giovanni as Evra sought to get forward. The frst twenty-five minutes we were very much under the cosh and we really struggled to keep the ball in midfield and Mpenza did not get to grips with the lone striker role - I thought Bianchi would have made a better replacement for the injured Bojinov.
We did however get into the game though, and probably with great timing took the lead through another goal from outside the area following a neat build up. The scourge of United in games gone past - Geovanni, finishing well with the aid of a deflection past Van der Saar. Following this, we played some nice stuff up until the end of the half with one series of passing resulting in chorus of 'Oles'.
Perhaps concentration was lacking in the early stages of the second-half as the defence allowed Vidic to head unchallenged against the bar.
It was a difficult time in the second-half as Geovanni's injury and Elano's substitution peraps highlighting the fact the squad is still a little light and there weren't many options other than defensive moves.
United increased their territorial and possession advantage as the game wore on - with Hargreaves having an excellent game, but still could not create a genuine clear-cut chance (all very well bemoaning the lack of an 'out and out' striker but they still need service) and as the game wore on it they threw numbers forward but to no avail as we held on well for the points and headed to the top of the table.Ratings:
Schmeichel - 6. Steady enough.
Corluka - 8. Superb in both defence and attack.
Dunne - 8. Gave his all.
Richards - 9. Man of the match and let the hype really begin.
Garrido - 7. Another solid game.
Hamman - 8. Shadowed Scholes well for the most part.
Petrov - 6. Too in and out of the game again.
Elano - 6. Nice touches but needs time to settle.
Johnson - 8. Good driving force.
Geovanni - 8. Seems to have a habit of making things happen.
Bojinov - n/a. Disappointing early injury.
Mpenza - 6. Tried gainfully but looked short of fitness.
Bianchi - 7. Leads the line well.
Ball - 6. Looked solid.Reports:GuardianMEN