Monday, May 16, 2011

5 Moments That Defined United's Season

They're champions. For the nineteenth times. And thoroughly deserved. I took a look over the big moments that took their toll on United's record breaking season:

Man Utd 3-2 LFC

Well you didn't expect me to leave this out, did you? It was an unexpected goalfest between the two rivals and even more unexpected was the dazzling hat trick from the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov which inevitably decided the game. In the weeks that had passed United had forfeited many a leads, including the two goal leads they held at both Goodison Park & Craven Cottage of which they squandered and when Steven Gerrard equalised late from the spot it seemed this match would be heading the same route had it not been for a late winner from Berba to steal all three points. Undeserved, maybe, but this was a sign of things to come that would the Liverpool's 18 title triumph come to an end.

Aston Villa 2-2 Man U

United's away form continued to spiral and at Villa Park, conceding twice to Stewie Downing and Gabby Agbonglahor, they had their first defeat of the season virtually staring them square in the face. United, however had other plans and were left to dig deep when youngster Federico Macheda and ruthless centre-back Nemanja Vidic both netted late on to salvage a well-earned point for the visitors. The Villains could've felt they'd been hard done by but then again, this was only the beginning of things to come from a hell of an eventful season for the Reds.

Blackpool 2-3 Man Utd

This game defined the definition of champions. Blackpool, like Aston Villa, had taken an early two goal advantage and went in to half-time seemingly cruising along. 70 minutes had been played and United still hadn't shown up when BAM, out of nowhere, Dimitar Berbatov pulled one back and reduced the deficit to just one goal. Blackpool's flaky defence then crumbled under the copious amounts of pressure United were applying and United scored twice in the final 15 minutes to claim a victory almost as significant as those famous Turin and Barcelona comebacks. It was a pivotal moment in the title race and one which inevitably extended their unbeaten record in the League to twenty eight ames.

West Ham 2-4 Man Utd

Again a comeback of similar proportions to that of Villa & Blackpool, we were inching ever closer to the business end of the season. It was the same ol' story for United as their awful away form made yet another appearance which handed the Hammers a much needed two-goal lead heading into the break. United were 13/2 at the beginning of the second half to stage a much needed comeback and at the time of their first goal they were priced at 18/1. A spectacular hattrick by the in-form Wayne Rooney paved the way for a United fightback and Javier Hernandez scored late-on to rub salts in the wounds for the poor Hammers. United had shown 'the stuff of champions' as they say, and there was no doubt that they would inevitably go on to win the league if they kept showing this kind of spirit when they went behind.

United 2 - 1 Chelsea

36 seconds was all that it took to break the deadlock in this title-deciding game. A delightful through ball from Ji-Sing Park released Javier Hernandez who kept his cool and slotted it past the hapless Cech as United began to run riot. Just twenty one minutes had elapsed when United doubled their lead through Nemanja Vidic when he headed home from a Ryan Giggs corner. Frank Lampard cut the lead into half when he scored from the spot midway through the second-half but it wasn't enough as United virtually secured the title for a record nineteenth time. Their home form went unrivalled among Europe as they dropped only two points - to West Brom - and claimed a monumentus 52 points from a possible 54 points on offer (assuming they beat Blackpool next week). Their away form was one of concern and having only taken 5 wins from an offer of 18 away fixtures, they depended heavily on their title rivals dropping points in order to obtain the coveted number nineteen title and in the process knocking Liverpool off their perch.

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