Everyone’s measuring tape may stretch a little differently when considering how far Manchester United needs to extend its lead over Manchester City to cinch off, wrap up and put a pretty bow around the Barclays English Premier League championship.
Most of us looked at last weeks’ results – United’s win at Fulham married with City’s draw at home to Liverpool – as the moment of truth.
If it was not, can we all pretty please agree that it’s coming today? It is with a successful day at Old Trafford, that is.
City’s loss to Southampton on Saturday set the stage. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men start the morning nine points clear of the only viable pursuer close enough to talk about. With all three points today against U.S. international Tim Howard and Everton, United will build a 12-point deficit that would need a historic collapse for undoing.
Yes, United was eight points clear last year with six matches remaining.
Still, consider the psychological impact of today’s contest at Old Trafford.
This is where it all began to unravel for Manchester United a little less than a year ago. It was in April (so, a bit later in the season) when Everton and United played to a sensational 4-4 draw.
This week, Ferguson warned such a thing will not happen again. What he told United Review:
If I had to pick out one single match where we lost our title it would have to be that game. What I can say is that it won’t happen again – or if it does, then put it this way, they will feel the full effect of the hairdryer.”
Yes. Egad! The fabled Ferguson hair dryer.
Today’s match kicks off at 10:30 a.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel.
There’s also a schedule ahead to consider, one that sets up more favorably for United. And with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie leading the way, goals a just a’ flyin’ in for United; Opta Sports tells us Ferguson’s men have scored two or more in 15 of their last 16 at Old Trafford.