The Seven Games That Won Manchester United No. 19
Over the course of a the 38-game Barclays Premier League season, trophies are won – or lost – if they are able to get a result against from a losing position or against one of their main rivals, which Manchester United has had plenty of.
The 2010/11 season though, has been riddled with games that many of the supporters said “how big was that” type of occasions, and each one of them will hold a different type of significance to each.
In chronological order, not rate of importance, here are the seven Premier League matches that led to Manchester United securing their 19th top flight title, which makes them the most successful team in English history. Remember, this is not to take away from any of the other vital victories or dramatic draws that happened in 2010/11, because one of the points earned are equally as valuable in landing the trophy.
1. Manchester United 2 Wolverhampton 1 (November 6)
Wolves still have a chance of being relegated to the second tier of English football, but that did not stop them from playing United hard all three times they faced each other this season – with each game decided by the odd goal. However, the pick of the lot was the one played on Sir Alex Ferguson’s 24th anniversary, because of the way it characterized the attitude that he has instilled in his players since taking over at Old Trafford.
With United ravaged by injuries and virus, Ji-Sung Park stepped up and scored the opening goal in first half stoppage time, but that was cancelled out by a former youngster, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, which looked to have given the visitors the unlikeliest of results. However, Park was given that little bit of space that was need to hammer home his second of the match deep into second half injury time.
2. Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 2 (November 13)
Just six days after the Wolverhampton match, United traveled to take on fellow Midlands club, Aston Villa. Over the years, there have been some cracking games for United at Villa Park, and that was relived against the Villains again.
The teams traded a couple of near misses throughout the first half, but the game remained scoreless until the 72nd minute, and then the game burst into life with four goals in the next 13 minutes.
Ashley Young coolly converted a penalty after he was fouled by Wes Brown, and then Marc Albrighton doubled their lead just four minutes later with a simple tap in at the far post. Villa should have put the game to bed with the amount of chances that they created, but they were punished by two United goals – also four minutes apart.
First, Federico Macheda lashed home an unstoppable strike from the top of the area, and then Nemanja Vidic got on the end of Nani’s cross at the far post and directed his diving header back across goal and passed a helpless Brad Friedel.
3. Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0 (December 13)
With both of the teams jockeying to be at the top of the table by Christmas, Ferguson knew that it would be another North-South Derby six-pointer.
Arsenal did their best to unsettle United with an uncharacteristic, physical approach to the game, committing an astonishing 17 fouls and picking four yellow cards in the process. On any other day, the Gunners would have finished the match with eight men, but Howard Webb was very lenient towards the end when they were getting even more chippy.
However, that man Park scored his third goal in as many games against the Gunners near the end of the first half to put some daylight between the two teams. The final scoreline, which included a huge penalty miss by Wayne Rooney, was not justified to the way the Reds completely man-handled their opponents.
This game was start of people, other than United supporters, starting to believe that they were real title contenders.
4. West Bromwich Albion 1 Manchester United 2 (January 1)
Just a few weeks later, United had another trip to Greater Birmingham area, as they traveled to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom. The Baggies, to date, are the only team to take points off United at Old Trafford this season, which Sir Alex knew that his team were up against it on the road.
Wayne Rooney gave the Reds the best of beginnings by squeezing his header from the middle of the box in betwen Scott Carson and his right-hand post – which marked the first time he scored from open play in nine months.
That lead only lasted 13 minutes thanks to an out-of-this-world strike from James Morrison that left Tomasz Kuszczak with no chance of saving. That goal inspired Albion to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but they missed their chances – especially when Peter Odemwingie scuffed his penalty wide of the target – which set up the stage for yet another late show for United, and that got that priceless goal when Javier Hernandez headed home Rooney’s quickly taken corner.
5. Blackpool 2 Manchester United 3 (January 25)
After having the initial date moved due to a frozen Bloomfield Road pitch, United and Blackpool played out one of the most hotly-contested matches of the season.
Craig Cathcart, another former United youngster, gave the Seasiders the perfect start with a thumping header 15 minutes into the match. That lead was doubled when DJ Campbell headed home another Charlie Adam corner right before halftime, and it looked like they had the Reds on the verge of the first league loss in over nine months.
However, United staged one of the most impressive come-from-behind wins of the season by scoring three goals in 16 minute span. Dimitar Berbatov scored two goals of league-leading 21 goals, which sandwiched a tidy finish from Hernandez that gave the Reds all three away points, which was a certainly rare commodity this season.
6. Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1 (February 12)
Because of the £1b investment, the Manchester Derby has become significant again, and this one needed to be decided by a bit of imagination.
Nani capped off a brilliant five-touch, nine second counterattack that started with Edwin van der Sar inside his own six-yard box and finished in the bottom corner of the City net. As precise as United’s goal was, City’s equalizer was anything but – pun intended. Their latest big money signing Edin Dzeko struck a shot that ricocheted off David Silva’s back side and into the opposite corner that it was destined for.
The game looked to be heading for another draw, but up stepped Rooney to, who began to shed his tarnished reputation, to settle the game with perfectly executed overhead kick to seal the win for United. That result was desperately needed, because just the week prior, the Reds had their 24-game unbeaten come to a screeching halt against Wolverhampton.
7. Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1 (May 6)
The Reds could have had Chelsea already clear out of the title race, but they failed to capitalize on those opportunities, which set up the “be all, end all match” that would potentially decide the Premier League title at Old Trafford.
United set the tone of the match by scoring their fastest goal of the season as Hernandez scored a goal just 36 seconds into the match and they never looked back. Nemanja Vidic doubled the lead 22 minutes later when he headed the ball in from close range. 22 minutes from time, Frank Lampard scored to give the Blues some hope, but they never came close to scoring an equalizer to set up a tantalizing finish.
The three points put all but extinguished Chelsea’s chances of retaining their tainted title that they won last year and put United in prime position to get their trophy back.
- J. Hernandez – 4
- J. S. Park – 3
- D. Berbatov – 2
- N. Vidic – 2
- W. Rooney – 2
- F. Macheda – 1
- Nani – 1
Submitted by The United Religion
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