Against all odds, bottom of the table Blackburn managed to do something that they, let alone other teams, don’t seem to accomplish that often; win at Old Trafford. In the process, they close 2011 on a good note, while throwing a wet towel on Sir Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday party celebrations.
Last time the Rovers were seen around this part of town, they were on the receiving end of a Dimitar Berbatov "5 goal masterpiece", the final score being 7-1; a result that hastened the sacking of "Big" Sam Allardyce. Rather amazing how much can change in a year.
Blackburn has spent most of the season in the relegation zone, and the spotlight couldn't shine any brighter on questions regarding the future of manager Steve Kean. There had even been calls for his firing, but I'm sure a win of this magnitude will relegate fans to toasting the New Year in their local pubs instead. Should they continue to fight for the rest of the season as they did today, they will more than likely survive relegation.
They won because they made the most of the few chances that came their way, then showed resolve by withstanding the numerous assaults United launched toward their goal. When United fought back to even the score at 2-2, most other teams would have crumbled at this point, after realizing that the chances of an upset are highly unlikely. But not Blackburn, they kept on fighting, and after taking that 2-0 lead, knew that they could win the game; therefore they played expecting to win.
Manchester United had managed to catch up with Manchester City at the top of the league table, but this result certainly puts a dent on their title hopes. It doesn't get any easier for them either as they face Newcastle at Tyneside midweek, then travel to Eastlands to play City in a FA Cup 3rd round clash.
Credit to them for showing the fight, and for not giving up either, but they could have and should have done more against an opponent they were strongly favored to beat. They seemed to ease up a little after tying the game, and it was only when Blackburn went up 3-2 that did they show the urgency to attack again.
United's makeshift defense, even though exposed by Blackburn, was not the culprit; that honor falls to goalkeeper David De Gea, who's blunder gifted Grant Hanley what turned out be the winning goal. Moments such as those that will do little to stem the tide of criticism that has been fired in the direction of the young custodian.
There's still a lot of football left to play, and United won't be hanging their heads on this outcome, as they know they weren't the better team on the day.