With no football on, you probably don’t know what to do with your life. The Uzbekistani and Barbados leagues aren’t the same. You want United back. That’s not going to happen for a while, so here’s five games you can watch on YouTube instead from when we used to actually compete for titles instead of revenue and tractor sponsors.
Everton Vs United (April 2007)
After going through a pretty turgid three years without winning a league title and a Glazer takeover, United were back in the title race after missing out to Mourinho’s Chelsea and the Arsenal invincibles in the years prior. Cristiano Ronaldo was blossoming into the player that would score 42 goals in all competitions the following season and Henrik Larsson had joined on loan for a few games because he was bored.
Going into April, United had a big chance to widen the gap at the top. After Chelsea were held 2-2 by Bolton, United had a chance to go five points clear with three games to play.
Everton were determined to stop Wayne Rooney returning back to Goodison and made it a lot harder than United were expecting. They went 2-0 up after a deflected free kick and an annoyingly good strike from Manuel Fernandes.
United soared back in the second half though and goals from John O’Shea, Rooney, Chris Eagles (remember him?) and a Phil Neville own goal put United five clear with three to play. A win the following week at home to Manchester City sealed the title after Chelsea lost to Arsenal.
Newcastle United Vs United (February 2008)
If you were to sum up United’s 07/08 season in one game, it would be this one. Penetrating, fast, counter-attacking football mixed in with flair and Michael Carrick.
Newcastle got relegated the following season and were on a run of 13 (thirteen, yes) games without a win. That still shouldn’t deter from what was a stellar United performance. Ronaldo and Rooney both get two goals and run the show by assisting each other and are just unplayable for the whole game. Stephen Taylor gets sent on his backside twice by Ronaldo and it’s a joy to watch the Newcastle defenders try to catch him when you know that it’s just never going to happen.
Rooney’s just curling them in from outside the box and United just dominate Newcastle for the whole game and end up winning 5-1.
United Vs Everton (October 2002)
This isn’t the best game on the list but it’s an important one in deciding the fate of United’s 02/03 campaign. Despite it only being October, Arsenal had already taken a big lead at the top of the table. United had their worst start in the Premier League so far and had only picked up 14 points from eight games all season. Some pundits were even saying if Everton won, the season would already be over.
This was also the first time that David Moyes had come to Old Trafford as manager and he was expected to put up a good fight. A young Rooney was on the bench and Moyes was slowly changing Everton as a football club.
United won 3-0 after two nice goals from Paul Scholes and a penalty from Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the last five minutes. It’s not the most affluent of performances and it’s not the champagne football that we see in 99’ and 08’ but it’s a hard fought win in a title race which is as important as the 5-0’s as when you’re catching the team above you, results need to be just grinded out. This is a great example of this. A proper title-race grinder.
United end up winning the title that season by five points after Arsenal collapsed quite dramatically in the last half of the season. Maybe this result was the turning point?
QPR Vs United (January 1993)
HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, THIS IS IT, IT, IT.
It’s the first season of the Premier League. Sky have shown up with Richard Keys, football on Monday night and 36 hours of build up. United are going for their first title in 26 years and everyone’s getting nervously excited. It’s really tight though at the top. Going into this game, United are top with Aston Villa and Norwich City below them on goal difference. Dark horses, Blackburn Rovers lie in third, three points off.
Villa and Blackburn both win on the weekend and the pressure’s all on United on Monday night to beat QPR and stay at the top.
It’s a proper title winning performance from United. Paul Ince kicked things off 25 minutes in with an improvised overhead kick from a cross from Lee Sharpe. A few minutes later, Ryan Giggs makes it two with an easy chip over the helpless QPR goalkeeper.
Bradley Allen pulls a goal back to make it 2-1 just before half-time but the game is United’s. Sharpe finds Andrei Kanchelskis three minutes into the second half who makes it three. United go back to the top of the table with 16 games left to play and eventually win their first title since 1967.
United Vs Arsenal (October 1990)
This game is known as the brawl of Old Trafford because it properly kicks off. Big time. Way before you had your Roy Keane’s and your Patrick Viera’s squaring up to each other in the tunnel, you had Brian McClair starting 20 men brawls with the whole Arsenal team.
It all starts with Denis Irwin and Andreas Limpar. Both of them throw themselves into each other in a heavy challenge and then It’s carnage. Limpar leaves his foot in on Irwin and then gets the ball kicked at him by Irwin. All of sudden Nigel Winterburn comes over shouting and then McClair just starts kicking him in the back and whilst that’s going on, everyone else is just fighting each other. Steve Bruce then rushes over and throws himself over Winterburn (who’s still getting kicked) to try and scrap Limpar. It’s incredible how the game is even resumed and that no one else apart from Limpar gets booked.
Arsenal end up winning 1-0 and also get docked two points, United get one point deducted as Arsenal were involved in another brawl earlier in the season. The FA also fined both clubs £50,000.
It is the only instance in English league football history in which any team has been docked points due to player misconduct.