Philip Cornwall saw enough to be hopeful at Wembley, but equally enough to concern. After all, who doesn't need a bit of luck when it comes to the World Cup...?
After three years of suffering under Venkys, Blackburn fans finally have a team in which to believe again. Under Gary Bowyer, there are flashes of light at the end of a long tunnel...
The domestic cups have their problems but they still throw up headline-grabbing storylines. Manchester City are through in the FA Cup after another putting Blackburn through finishing school, a week after doing the same to West Ham to all but guarantee - scratch that, to guarantee - their place in the Capital One Cup final. Before Christmas they reached the last 16 of the Champions League; in the Premier League they are a point off the top; and while Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea and others will have plenty to say, questions about the prospect of their winning four trophies are not unreasonable.
We have been here before with other clubs, of course, and in 1999 (when City were struggling to get out of what is now League One) United did win the true treble, eclipsing Liverpool's 1984 effort in which the League Cup took the place of the FA Cup. Now City are the ones looking to do the eclipsing.
Should United do what is required in their tensely poised semi-final second leg, then the Capital One Cup final could be a chance for David Moyes to derail City's grand slam ambitions, assuming they still remain on course at the start of March. The final can be a incidental date on the calendar, or at least one of ambiguous significance - think Birmingham following up victory over Arsenal with relegation, or Liverpool edging past Cardiff on penalties before following up with relegation form and the sacking of the victorious manager. Instead, should we have a derby date at Wembley on 2 March, with City still in line for four trophies, then the banking company will feel that their sponsorship is in credit.
The same cannot be said for Manchester United's stock price, down more than 20% this season. As Moyes heads to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for the best chance to reel in one of the leading Premier League trio, he will be aware of Wall Street's reaction to his performance, though perhaps relieved that the Glazers hold such a dominant position in the company. In theory, the manager should be judged only on his own team's record, but the Scot will know that every City success increases the intensity of the spotlight on United's performances.
Their league form is in fact respectable - five wins in six, a record partially masked by an FA Cup exit, a Capital One Cup setback, and their following that one Premier League blow, the home defeat by Spurs. But with so many teams ahead of them to catch because of the poor early season, it will take multiple blow-ups rather than one or two to bring them back within range of retaining their title. Success in one of the two remaining cups would provide some much-needed succour; the Champions League would obviously cover a great number of sins, but the Capital One Cup would be more valuable than usual as victory in it means putting one over City.
Moyes will know, though, that defeat at Wembley would open up a wound that would test the loyalty of those in fanzine surveys who largely back him as Sir Alex Ferguson's chosen one. If City do beat United to the Capital One Cup the Scot may wonder whether an earlier exit would have been advantageous. And should City get past Barcelona and United, as expected, beat Olympiakos, then the quarter-final draw will be a sweaty occasion.
I think Jim White's head will finally explode when contemplating a Manchester derby on the Champions League knockout stage.
Love these United fans, they'd never look to exploit the World market would they? I mean they'd never consider selling Cola in Vietnam, they'd never thing of selling a fully bodied red in Singapore. They'd certainly never think of investing in a foreign football club with the idea of importing young players from all over the World ineligible for work in the UK..United would never consider any of these things.. Oh wait, maybe they would. As for our 'whimps' I'm sure most United fans would give their right arm for players who worked as hard and played as hard as Kompany, Zabaleta, Milner, Silva, Negredo, Fernandinho, Aguero. In fact what am I saying? I'd swap them for the home grown talents of Buttner, Nani, Young, Smalling and Jones. I guess you're right, what we achieve, what these players achieve will never be remembered, who'd ever remember the most memorable league win in the best year for sport the UK has ever seen?- eyal&alib