So how come a team that can barely scrape a point away from home in the league can win four consecutive away games in the FA Cup, two of them against – admittedly poor – Premier League opposition, asks Matthew Bell.
They keep telling us the gap is getting wider, but that must be between the top six or seven Premier League teams and everybody else.
But still, to prevent a Premier League team from even having a decent sight of goal in 120 minutes, just three days after giving Crewe the freedom of Gresty Road, is difficult to explain. Perhaps the only reasonable explanation is that at Crewe the players’ minds were on Craven Cottage.
They would no doubt say that was not the case but the sub-conscious sometimes overpowers conscious thought and effort. The manager, too, seemed to regard his priorities as being elsewhere by replacing his two wingers with a full back and a defensive midfielder at 2-0 down.
If that was the plan, it worked. Viewing events from home, the pundits were ‘bigging up’ Harry Maguire before the match and he did his reputation no harm at all. Stephen McGinn was also highly impressive in front of the back four, as was the marauding John Brayford.
It’s strange watching United on TV. You obviously aren’t as involved as being there and when the cameras showed Blades fans deliriously celebrating the goal I let out a restrained “Yes!” but remained firmly on the settee. It somehow seems incongruous leaping around your living room like you would behind the goal.
Shaun Miller must have been more delighted than most at his first goal for over a year. I once heard a top tennis player (can’t recall who) saying that when you’ve been out injured for a considerable period, once you start playing again it takes the same length of time to get back to how you were before.
By that reckoning Miller will not return to full power until September.
Finally, an apology; for forgetting that Michael Doyle has been sent off previously playing for United; at Scunthorpe early last season.