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The Title Race Is Back On? Nahhhh!

Robbo Robson | 14:09 UK time, Monday, 16 March 2009

The title race is on again! Hiddink's said it, Gerrard hasn't not said it, hellfire even the seen-it done-it pundits are saying it.

But there's a difference between the race being over - as would have been the case had United beaten Liverpool - and 'on', as it would be if Liverpool and Chelsea hadn't been choking at home against worthy no-hopers. It's not over, it's just delayed the inevitable.

Which is not to say that the humiliation at OT wasn't eye-popping. It's not often the Blue Bell is full of Koppites, but there were even a few fake taches and curly wigs doing the rounds on Saturday and we enjoyed what we saw, even if we had to leave early so we could dine out on our fingernails at the Riverside.

It was certainly good to see Fergie get it all wrong. To me, Sir Alex has more than a touch of the Soviet dictator about him, especially when the bench all stand up as one to applaud the latest goal. On Saturday, he looked like he was compiling his list for the post-match hairdryer and Vidic was going to be at the front of the queue.
Fernando Torres and Nemanja Vidic
Poor old Nemanja looked like a man trying to catch a puppy with his trousers round his ankles. Torres was off the leash all afternoon and if Wiley hadn't sent him off I think the sorry Serb would've have gone back to Gerrard, given him another kick, and asked the ref to change his mind. Right behind Vidic will have been Patrice Evra. (Is it me or do a lot of French first names sound a bit fey? Patrice, Didier, Nicolas? Hairdressers the lot of 'em).

Fergie persists with Anderson but in my opinion the lad is not much more than a dreadlocked Remi Moses. If Hargreaves gets fit, Anderson'll be off to pastures new (by which I mean Italy, the place where the not-quite top-class Brazilians increasingly end up).

Then again, maybe the £300-a-bottle wine is getting to his knightship, 'cos he says he thinks United were the better team. Ermm, right, SAF... and James Corden is underexposed, Morten Gamst Pedersen is a noble fella and the country's foremost exponent of modern dance is Robert Webb.

In fact it seems pretty clear that United were downright cocky. No-one playing Liverpool leaves their only threats, Torres and Gerrard, to run wherever they please. Every time either of them picked up the ball they had so much space they could've been doing a special outdoor report for Countryfile.

There's little hope of the quintuple if they defend like that. Thing is, though, the Premier League's not going to be lost. There's not a lot of Stevies and Nandos left to face for the Champs, are there?

And Liverpool have some tough games to look forward to - obviously they'll deal with Arsenal and an improving Spurs without any probs but home games against Blackburn and Newcastle have 0-0 written all over them. It's incredible to think that Benitez has taken 13 out of 15 points against the rest of the top four and yet his team are still not going to win the title. This should be their year.

Michael Essien has returned to prove that Chelsea need a lot more than Mikel in their midfield. The Nigerian will be playing the Obi-Cokey for the rest of the season (he'll be in, out, in, out) but even with Essien there's too much work to do. But you can see them taking United in the Cups.

I'll go so far as to say I think Chelsea will win the Champions League and Abramovich will be sending pleading text messages for the whole of the summer to the mighty Guus.

But the real story of the Premier League season is still its rear-end and Boro are still the biggest pimple on it at the mo. A pensioner in a night-club has more chance of scoring right now.

Southgate can whinge about the fans booing as much as he likes, but when you witness rank performances week- in week-out, something's got to give. A man fed on gruel day after day doesn't half long for a bit of steak every now and then.
Gareth Southgate
There was one point where Peter Crouch - Peter Crouch! - was taunting our defenders on the touchline with his silky skills. Chants of "We've only got one player!" might hurt the lads but the hope is that they'll pick themselves up and drag the club out of the mire.

Frankly there's too much of this drippy talk about how we fans might upset a lad or two 'cos we slag him off for being useless. God knows why Villa fans are slating Agbonlahor, though. They should come up here if they think he's poor.

In the words of Gary Barlow, I've been waiting for the team to Shine and it only takes a minute to score a goal. I've done me best to have a little patience but frankly, Gareth, if you can't relight my fire then you need the Sack for Good. (It's a bit disturbing how many Take That songs I know).

I mean I like Southgate and we'll be back next year, Championship or Premier League, but we pay the wages of some of them numpties and I reserve the right to tell 'em when they're garbage. We need six points out of six at Stoke and Bolton. Them matches are going to be pretty, aren't they? Real thud and blunder affairs I reckon.

But hopefully, when United have rounded off the title win with a home point against the Gunners, we'll still be in there scrapping. If not, no matter what the hollow-faced man says, the Riverside will ring to the Relegation Roar!


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