On last week's Red Voices podcast, I rather rashly suggested that United would breeze past Fulham and the cigars and deck chairs would be out long before the end of the game. I certainly didn't envisage constant checking of the watch and imploring the referee to blow the full time whistle. But 1-0 wins are what title campaigns are built on and United have specialised in them down the years.
The prime example that's often cited is the Cantona goal that gave United victory at Newcastle in '96. But you only have to think back a year for more examples. United seemed to be drifting towards goalless draws at Old Trafford against both Bolton and Everton during the run-in last season but came up with late winners to secure crucial wins. Somehow the drama of a late goal means that a slightly off key performance is forgotten.
There was no late goal last night and much of the game was played out in an atmosphere of tension that seemed to transmit itself from the crowd to the players. But once again Unted got the job done - they always seem to when the pressure is on. So let's not focus too much on a game that will be forgotten quickly, instead let's give credit for a run of results that has put the Reds in pole position for another title.
Since the disappointing display and result at Newcastle in early January, United have reeled off nine wins and a draw from the subsequent 10 Barclays Premier League games, a fantastic run. The Reds have also scored more goals that anyone else and kept more clean sheets.
On the subject of clean sheets, I was glad Jonny Evans was named Man of the Match last night. I thought he was outstanding against the physical and bustling Pavel Pogrebnyak. What an inprovement we've seen from Jonny this season - he's softened the blow of losing Nemanja Vidic with performances of real consistency. There seemed to be a feeling that he could be bullied by physical centre-forwards but no one mentions that anymore. And all the critics who took great delight in writing off David De Gea must feel rather silly after another