Confidence, what an elusive beast it is. Fernando Torres can’t find it anywhere and Manchester United can’t stop oozing it. Perhaps Torres should sneak into Carrington undercover and see if some of it rubs off on him.
At the moment United are playing with so much confidence it seems they are the only people on the park. Their demolition of Bolton Wanderers last Saturday was so comprehensive as to feel like a different style of drubbing.
Bolton are a good side, physical and capable of playing a quick, intelligent passing game under Owen Coyle, but on Saturday they were an irrelevance. Blown off the park from the first minute as United just played their game. Home advantage was nil and no matter how much effort they put in it made no difference. United’s football was at a different level.
Sometimes a scoreline can misrepresent a game and drastically overstate the gulf that separates two teams. Not this scoreline. It is a remarkable thing to watch such a young team play such penetrative, effective and enjoyable football.
People who say that Chelsea are United’s first real test are clutching at straws. United dispatched Arsenal with terrifying ease, making the Gunners somewhat patchy defence look amateurish. They have also comfortably defeated Spurs at Old Trafford and Bolton away, (West Brom less comfortably). If this is considered an easy opening set of fixtures then it looks like United are going to have a very easy year.
It is a rare thing to so clearly see confidence coursing through a side. Chelsea looked to have a tamer form running through them at the beginning of last year, but it was never so rampant or so impressive. Barcelona rightly have theirs as a result of world domination but (after three years and no fault on their part) it lacks the freshness and brightness of United’s young batch.
Last year United stuttered unconfidently through the season, showing that nonsense ‘true mark of champions’ quality as they ground out results from underwhelming performances. This year, right now, they are showing the actual mark of champions.
Of course nobody wants the race to be over too early so it’s just as well Manchester City and Chelsea are keeping pace but at the moment that really is how it feels, they’re running full pelt just to keep up with a United side who are making it look worryingly easy.