Date: 23rd February 2007 at 9:18pm
Written by:

Manchester United’s summer was full of stories about Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, how the latter wanted to kill the former after the world cup. Fergie was criticised for his signings, for paying 14 million for Michael Carrick and letting Ruud van Nistelrooy go without securing a replacement.

Most predictions were about how Liverpool and Chelsea would battle it out for the title this season, with United labelled as also-rans, full of has-beens and never-would-bes.

Then the opening day of the season arrived, Fulham were due to visit Old Trafford, one day after a match at Sheffield which led many to suspect that Liverpool were maybe a tiny bit overrated.

I can tell you that it was my birthday, the 20th of August. United gave a performance of the highest quality, going four up in the opening 20 minutes, full of flair, imagination, verve and spirit. Ronaldo and Rooney appeared to be the best friends and the media have fallen over themselves the heap praise on the Red Devils.

Our title capabilities were seriously questioned since that day. There were one or two hiccups and the We-shouldn’t-have-let-Ruud-go-topic popped up sometimes but all in all, this game set us on the road to be the main challengers of Chelsea’s reign in the Premiership.

Now, United go to Craven Cottage with the chance of opening up a nine-point gap on Chelsea who play in the Carling Cup final this weekend. League action resumes after a two-week break and United will seek for another morale-boosting victory before a testing run – just as it happened in August.

Would not expect another performance like that – but if a victory would highlight the start of another great run then we might say Fulham were the key to a hopefully successful season.