The sort of result that wins titles: Middlesbrough 0 United 2
In Spain, you often hear players and coaches talking about “the sort of match that decides title races”. More often that not they’re talking about the tricky away game against awkward opposition rather than a high profile match against direct rivals.
Manchester United’s 2-0 win away to Middlesbrough on Saturday was just that sort of game, and just the sort of performance that will leave their rivals utterly deflated.
It was a match that could easily have re-opened the championship. United were playing less than 72 hours after their Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Arsenal and three days before the return in London.
Middlesbrough are desperate for points, as they scrap it out at the bottom of the table, yet Alex Ferguson was able to rest a bunch of players and yet still see his team win with plenty to spare, thanks to goals from Ryan Giggs and and Park Ji-sung.
United still have a couple of potential banana skins with matches to come against Manchester City and Arsenal but this was a real show of authority, especially after Liverpool’s recent defeat here.
So as far as the title race goes, that’s that, isn’t it?
PHOTO: Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs (R) celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough with Federico Macheda, May 2, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis