Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

David Healy: United will roar back

When Manchester United beat Inter Milan in the Champions League about a month ago, I said that they were fortunate to do so.

They got a few breaks against Porto earlier this week too.

Obviously United’s recent form has been discussed at length, but just for a moment it’s worth giving some praise to Porto.

I thought they were excellent on the night, playing good attacking football and having a real go.

You don’t often see that from visiting sides in European games at Old Trafford.

They will now fancy themselves on their own patch in the return leg and if they play as they did in the first 90 minutes of the tie, they’ll have a real opportunity to cause what would be a massive shock.

Now back to United. Having seen what Porto are capable of, I believe they’ll be ready for them next week.

United being United, I can see them going to Portugal and creating chances. They won’t sit back, that’s for sure. It’s not Sir Alex Ferguson’s way.

He’ll be concerned though that the games appear to be catching up on some of his players.

They are involved in huge matches all the time and don’t forget the travelling that some of these boys would have done when on international duty recently.

Little wonder they are looking a bit tired.

Yes, people will say that’s what United are supposed to have a big squad for, to cover for such occurences, but they have had injuries meaning the likes of my mate Jonny Evans may be playing more games than Sir Alex may have wanted him to.

Despite recent poor results and worries about their freshness, United are still in the position everyone else wants to be in — top of the league.

I have a great affinity for Manchester United having played there, have huge respect for the manager (pictured) and the players and have said that I belive they CAN win the quintuplet this season.

I’m desperate though that they lose on Saturday — because they are playing Sunderland.

Going into the game everyone will focus on the match from United’s point of view and how important it is for them to win in terms of the title.

Forget that, the match at the Stadium of Light is just as important for us.

We need the points to get away from the relegation battle. This is as big for us as it is for them.

At Anfield, Liverpool meet Blackburn and we could do with a home win there as it could bring big Sam Allardyce’s side back into the mix.

That’s how you have to look at games at this stage of the season.

Yes, you try and help yourselves but you hope other results go your way too.

My own feeling on the title race is that it will go to the wire. I’d prefer us to safe long before then.

Blues could have golden time with Guus

Chelsea are coming into form, aren’t they?

When Guus Hiddink took over he suggested that the players weren’t fit enough or committed enough.

If that was the case, he’s certainly changed things around at Stamford Bridge because they looked fit and committed at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Just by the way Chelsea are playing you can see he has freshened things up and the players have responded.

Liverpool went into the Champions League quarter-final as the form team and left it needing a miracle to stay in the competition.

Having Michael Essien back from injury is so important for Chelsea. He was immense against Liverpool.

It seems as though Didier Drogba is back to his best as well. He is hungry for goals again which is a great sign for Chelsea.

They are in a fantastic position in the tie now with a 3-1 advantage and the home leg to come.

I can’t see it happening but I’m not going to say that Liverpool can’t pull that deficit back because this is the European Cup and they have come back from worse before.

After Istanbul, you know that the impossible is possible with Liverpool.

Following the game on Wednesday there has been much talk about Liverpool’s zonal marking from corners which led to two Chelsea goals.

If I was a coach or manager it is not a system I would employ. I’d always go man for man though Rafa Benitez has his own ideas and he hasn’t done too badly with them, has he?

Now though unless he can inspire another miracle, he’ll have to concentrate on the Premiership.

Good Friday agreement for Big Two

It's the last Big Two derby of the season tonight and the most important.

I’m sure there will be a healthly crowd at the Oval, where the home fans will try to raise the roof and roar their team on to what could be a massive victory.

Glentoran are one point ahead of Linfield at the top of the table, so I would say if Alan McDonald’s men win, the title race will be over.

Any other result and it will still be open.

The funny thing is while both teams will go all out for the win, I believe both would probably take a draw right now.

That would mean the title would go to the side who could handle the pressure best in the final four games.

Prediction? I’m going for a score draw, though you won’t be surprised to know that I hope the Blues win.

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