The absence of any cup football meant the Reds could focus solely on the league battle with City in April, and the month began swimmingly with two victories.
Relegation-threatened Blackburn were defiant for 80 minutes at Ewood Park, until Antonio Valencia crashed home a vicious cross-shot and Ashley Young joined him on the scoresheet with a delightful curler.
Another 2-0 win followed at Old Trafford, albeit a more straightforward one following the early dismissal of QPR’s Shaun Derry for a foul on Young. Wayne Rooney converted the resultant penalty, Paul Scholes added another and, by the end of the day, United were eight points clear as City came unstuck at Arsenal.
Next up was a trip to Wigan, a fixture United had traditionally bossed. But this time the Reds were strangely subdued, the embattled Latics were inspired and Shaun Maloney’s second-half winner was no more than they deserved.
Four days later, we were back at OT and normal service was resumed against Aston Villa. Again the Reds were awarded an early spot-kick, again for a trip on Young, and again Rooney put it away. The Reds’ top scorer bagged another in the second half, while Danny Welbeck and Nani also netted from close range.
The British media found a new agenda when they unfairly singled out Young for perceived dives to win the penalties against QPR and Villa. Sir Alex later admitted he’d “had a word” with the winger about going down too easily and took him out of the firing line for the next game, against Everton.
We were still in command in the title race, but nobody told our visitors, who twice came from two goals down to snatch a 4-4 draw in a breathless encounter. Nikica Jelavic headed the opener but United roared back through Rooney and superb goals from Welbeck and Nani.