Football is a funny old game. Two weeks ago, Manchester United fans were in a living nightmare as Danny Welbeck latched on to a poor Antonio Valencia backpass to give Arsenal a 2-1 win in the FA Cup.
Yet this morning, Man United fans are peering over the top of their cups of tea, wide eyed, beaming, trying hard not to burst into spontaneous happy laughter. They’re in dreamland after Juan Mata‘s brace and Steven Gerrard’s unceremonious end to his career against United.
The game against Liverpool was like a well scripted Hollywood screenplay. There was a deep plot line, drama, intensity, heroes, villains and an explosive crescendo. It could hardly have been more entertaining.
Ultimately, that’s what football is about. It is sport, it is entertainment and the game yesterday certainly delivered. After years of being outplayed at Anfield, United stuck it to Liverpool and turned them inside out in their own backyard. It was the Godfather 2 of football matches.
The lows in football are bottomless, swallowing and engrossing. They can ruin your mood for days, even weeks, but fans accept them because of the unadulterated, unbridled joy that can come with a win like yesterday. There are few better feelings than riding the crest of a wave after a big win in a crucial game.
13 years ago, Diego Forlan made the scousers cry and etched his name in United folklore. To this day, fans chant his name. Mata has now taken his rightful place alongside Diego in the upper scouse bashing echelons where only a select few sit and his performance yesterday at Anfield won’t ever be forgotten.
Right now, United fans are on cloud nine and with two weeks left to gloat until the Aston Villa game, this could go down as one of the best ever international breaks.
As for Mata, well, he’ll need to find a bigger wheelbarrow…