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There was a time not so long ago when going to play Arsenal away was one of the most nerve-wracking games of the season. With the two clubs going head to head for the title every season, you knew that we would be facing one of the strongest sides in the league and you knew the result of the game could have an impact on who won the title.
Over the years football fans have found many things to jibe Manchester United about supposed 'glory hunter' fans and 'Fergie time' for starters. But sitting atop the list is the mocking of Old Trafford's meek atmosphere despite their enormous 76,000-seater capacity. With sections of the crowd claiming they are screaming their hearts out at [.
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It's been a long time since we last won the FA Cup and every season the desire from the fans to win it seems stronger. We have played in two FA Cup finals since we last lifted the trophy in 2004 and were desperately unlucky in both.
If at the beginning of the season someone told me that the thought of Aston Villa on a Monday night would have me feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve, it would have been hard to take them seriously. Yet here we are, about to take on a relegation candidate following a weekend of big games on SUPER SUNDAY, and I can barely keep the smile off my face.
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Whilst it would be inaccurate to say there is no pressure ahead of tonight's game, we certainly did ourselves a favour by picking up three points at Stoke after the disappointment of derby day. If last season hadn't happened, I'm sure there wouldn't have been any nerves ahead of our trip to the Britannia, but after blowing an eight point lead this time last year we're not quite as cocky as we used to be when it comes to believing that United will see the season out.
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Following the desperately disappointing and unjust result against Real Madrid, I was expecting United to come out fighting against Chelsea in the Cup last weekend. We went 2-0 up without needing to play well but then fell to pieces in the second half.
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Both Manchester United and Chelsea have had disappointing weeks in the lead up to this game. United were robbed in the Champions League against Real Madrid, with Jose Mourinho conceding the best team lost, whilst Chelsea were outplayed and beaten by some Romanian team in the Europa League.
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When the draw was made, I wasn't happy to see United facing Real Madrid in the Round of 16. People rattle off sayings like "to be the best you've got to beat the best" but I'd prefer the easiest route possible to give us the best chance of winning a fourth European Cup.
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Today we could go 12 points clear at the top of the table with twelve games left to play but we'd be foolish to think it's going to be simple. Everton beat us at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season and we were poor.
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After needing a replay to beat West Ham in the 3rd Round, hopefully we will have an easier job of getting past Fulham today. There's just two points separating those teams in the league, so we're looking at a similar team in terms of quality, but the Hammers have Carlton Cole playing up front, whilst Fulham have former RoM favourite, Dimitar Berbatov.
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Repeatedly this season I've said that Wayne Rooney is our most important player. This isn't to be confused with me thinking he's our best player. Robin van Persie is a far superior striker and his 12 goals/6 assists in 16 starts go a long way to supporting this.
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Wouldn't it be nice if the last minute errors at White Hart Lane a few weeks ago could be erased with a victory against Southampton tonight? Of course, the gap could have grown to nine points had we not conceded that late equaliser but I will be more than happy with seven points separating us from everyone else.
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United go to QPR today with the aim of extending our lead to 15 points at the top of the table ahead of City's game against Chelsea. QPR's recent form is pretty poor, with them winning just one of their last eight games.
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A game against Middlesbrough or Chelsea awaits us if we can get past Reading tonight and thankfully we've had a lengthy rest following the exhausting game at the Bernabeu on Wednesday. You imagine we will see plenty of changes but with a squad as strong as ours we should have enough to deal with Reading.
Since the draw was made its fair to say that most United fans have been eagerly awaiting this tie. Of course we have history with Real Madrid, a history which stretches back to the early days of this tournament. But it is recent events which makes this tie so exciting, as it is an opportunity to welcome back an old friend and a few old adversaries.
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The gulf in quality between United and Fulham was apparent a fortnight ago when we beat them 4-1 in the Cup. It might be a different story away from home though, even with their top scorer, former RoM favourite Dimitar Berbatov, ruled out with injury.
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Spurs have been our whipping boys for years so it was a shock when they managed to beat us 3-2 at Old Trafford earlier this season. Conceding three times wasn't much of a surprise, given how regularly we concede goals these days, but when we battered them in the second half but didn't even manage to draw level, I could hardly believe it.
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Today brings about one of the games you look for first when the fixtures are announced at the beginning of the season. Liverpool at home. Whilst the derby attracts more attention these days, since City's new found wealth, this is the game that matters most to the fans.
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There were times during Wednesday's game against Newcastle that I thought we'd be going in to today's game just one point clear at the top. News had spread around the ground early in the second half that City had gone a goal behind but you had to expect for them to go on and win it.