Well I don’t know about you but I’m certainly still flying after the weekend victory at Manchester United.
It doesn’t matter to me how much of a crisis there is at Old Trafford and how poor they have been made out to be in comparison to, well, most of my lifetime to be fair. We deserved the victory and managed to get rid of a winless streak that stretched back 41 years previously. If we carry on in that vein I’ll be 72 before I next see a win at Old Trafford!
Unfortunately a win like this does raise expectations somewhat. After the game I was reading various bits and pieces with one member of the media suggesting that we might be in the hunt for a Champions League place based not just on this result, but also the results against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. The theory was that if we can beat the big sides we’ll be in with a shout.
Our league position is pretty reasonable at the moment and our form is good, but it’s still far too early to talk about Champions League aspirations or anything like that. We’ve still got 23 games left to play of this season which is a lot of time for any side to suffer a change in fortunes.
Now I do happen to think we have a good side and now we’re reaping the rewards of last January. At the time signing five players in five days looked like a move of desperation in an attempt to halt a slide towards possible relegation, and it worked – just. The benefit now is that those players are now pretty much acclimatised to life in the Premier League and it is starting to show in their performances on a regular basis. Just take a look at the performances of Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy and even Loic Remy who spent the tail end of last season getting used to the Premier League at QPR.
The problem is that we are far too inconsistent to be considered for anything just yet. We are just as likely to go on a run without a win as we are to go on a run without losing and it’s not against the “big” sides that tend to struggle. With all due respect it’s the games against the likes of Swansea and Hull that we struggle with and that is the difference between us and a truly top side.
With time, and with a settled squad, that consistency will come but we won’t know about it or realise it until after it has happened. My aim for the season is the same as every season – get to 40 points first then see what happens. The quicker we get there the better.
Days like Saturday are great for fans, but they won’t shape our season and shouldn’t change our expectations. Well, in my opinion anyway…