United’s recent league form has seen us claw back City and take the top spot in the Premier League. Where we belong. The form displayed in returning to the summit has hardly been exhilarating with more function than flair but as we approach the business end of the season the three points on offer each game matter more than any ‘moral victories’ or heroic defeats. Grinding out a win accepted with far more relish now you can suddenly count the remaining Premier League games on both hands. And so it is to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A team that look now as if they are struggling. The stakes were high for both teams especially as United had lost 2/3 of the last visits to Molineux and seen an unbeaten run unravel there. It was also an important game for the teams around them…so much so that my early morning journey to Wolverhampton was punctured with messages from Wigan Athletic fans hoping for not just a United win, but for a hatful of goals to accompany it. I have a lot of time for Wigan Athletic, being from the town and knowing the Wigan fans like I do, they are a team that I don’t wish to depart the Premier League so I concurred with the wishes sent my way.
We travelled to Birmingham (actually passing through Wolverhampton for some reason!) to the pre-arranged pub to meet a few more travelling reds. As we sat enjoying an early morning pint we happened upon one of the Sunday tabloids to recap on the shocking turn of events that occurred at White Hart Lane the night before. I like everyone else, wish Fabrice Muamba all the best in his recovery.
We made it into Wolverhampton close to kick off. Molineux is currently under construction with their second tier on the North Stand protruding out of the buildings that normally hid the ground from sight. The construction of this stand is no doubt an ambitious plan, but whether it will prove to be a costly oversight if Wolves do drop into the Championship, only time will tell. We reached the away fans turnstiles to be greeted with printed leaflets supposedly written to United fans from Ryan Giggs, advising varying steps of behaviour to observe, as if we are the only fans to ever stand at a football match eh? We reach our section to find we are quite close to the South bank end of Molineux and an afternoon of banter and wind ups would ensue.
The game kicks off and United are quickly into their stride…as are the United fans close to the home end making light of Wolves struggle at the bottom of the league. Half time is blown and United are 3-0 up and have a man advantage. It gave everyone in the United end a sense of comfort as we all knew the game was over. It was just a question of how many we could score and we wanted more! The second half begins and United cruise into a 5-0 lead without ever really hitting top gear. The Wolves fans in the South bank to their credit attempt to get behind their team, showing their support in the face of a crushing defeat and a blow that would see them fall to the very bottom of the Premier League on goal difference. The game finishes and United are a step closer to the magical title number 20.
The final countdown to #20 is most definitely on.