Tag Archives: Debut

Iconic Moments: Majestic Macheda (April 2009)

Manchester United were locked in a tight battle with their North West rivals Liverpool FC in 2008-2009. Having been seven points clear in early March, the Red Devils had been beaten 4-1 at home by Liverpool before losing 2-0 to Fulham. Liverpool trimmed the deficit to just a single point and then went top after a Yossi Benayoun stoppage-time winner 24 hours earlier at Craven Cottage.

United played a day later and were struggling at home to Aston Villa. Wayne Rooney was suspended and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were trailing 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes. Ferguson decided to throw on an untested youngster in Italian Federico Macheda. He had a great goalscoring record in the reserves but this was the big stage and he could easily have been overwhelmed by the whole experience.

Cristiano Ronaldo had brought the sides level in the 80th minute but with the game in injury-time, a draw wasn’t really enough for the reigning champions. They needed all three to claim back the momentum in the title battle. In the third minute of time added on, Macheda produced his majestic moment. He turned in the box to evade Luke Young’s challenge before curling a stunning effort past Brad Friedel. The 17-year-old had just made himself a Manchester United superstar.

His career has faded since and he now plays for Novara in Serie B in his homeland. However, his name will always be linked with a real turning point in the 2008-2009 Premier League season.

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Iconic Moments: Rashford’s stunning debut (February 2016)

A four-way title fight was looking likely in February 2016 as surprise packages Leicester City continued to lead the way. Giving chase were north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, plus pre-season title favourites Manchester City.

Leicester had beaten Norwich City the previous day with a late winner from Leonardo Ulloa. Arsenal had to respond when they went to Old Trafford to take on a young and inexperienced Manchester United. Decimated by injuries to main forwards, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay, United boss Louis van Gaal was forced to put his trust in the academy. He gave a Premier League debut to Marcus Rashford.

Rashford had only made his first-team bow three days earlier, scoring twice in a UEFA Europa League tie against FC Midtjylland of Denmark. His Premier League debut was simply stunning. He opened the scoring on 29 minutes, steering the ball past Petr Cech after Arsenal defender Gabriel failed to clear a cross. Three minutes later, the centre-backs went missing again as Rashford was given all the time in the world to guide Jesse Lingard’s cross into the net.  In 35 minutes, he’d had just two touches in the opposition box and they had just produced a huge dent in Arsenal’s title aspirations.

Marcus’ brilliant day wasn’t done yet. He set-up the third goal for Ander Herrera in the second half as Van Gaal’s side put in one of their more rousing displays of the season to win 3-2.

A week earlier, only those seriously connected to Manchester United had heard of Marcus Rashford. By the end of February 2016, the whole world knew who he was after an incredible few days in his footballing career.

Premier League Files: Paulo Wanchope

Premier League Career: Derby County (1997-1999), West Ham United (1999-2000), Manchester City (2000-2001, 2003-2004)

Costa Rican Paulo Wanchope was an enigmatic forward who could do amazing things one minute, then completely frustrate you the very next. However, he will still go down as having one of the most amazing debuts in the Premier League.

He joined Derby County in March 1997, costing the club £600,000. His debut would come at Old Trafford against current champions and league leaders Manchester United. Unless you really knew your football, few would have heard of the name Paulo Wanchope at kick-off. It was a completely different story by the full-time whistle.

Derby were already 1-0 up when Wanchope took possession inside his own half. He went on to beat no fewer than four Manchester United players with a gangling, but decisive run through their backline before calmly placing the ball beyond the advancing Peter Schmeichel. It was a moment that Derby supporters would never forget and was actually voted the greatest goal in the club’s history during their 125th anniversary celebrations.

Part of an impressive attacking line-up under Jim Smith’s tenure at Derby, Wanchope combined brilliantly with the likes of Dean Sturridge, Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano. He scored another 21 Premier League goals for the club, including a goal to send Arsenal to their first defeat of their 1997-1998 title-winning campaign.

In July 1999, Derby decided to cash in on Wanchope as his form had started to dip in the final months of the previous season. He joined West Ham United for £3.5 million and formed a formidable partnership with the charismatic Paolo di Canio. Between them, they scored 31 times in the Premier League as West Ham United finished ninth. In 1999-2000, Wanchope scored 12 league goals but the Hammers faithful never quite took to him as the supporters did at Derby.

When Freddie Kanoute and Davor Sukur both arrived at Upton Park in the summer of 2000, Wanchope was sold to newly-promoted Manchester City for £3.65 million and made a swift impression for his new side, scoring a hat-trick in their 4-2 victory over Sunderland. This was in Manchester City’s first top-flight game at Maine Road in over four years. He added another six goals but couldn’t prevent Joe Royle’s side slipping out of the top-flight after just a single season back amongst the elite.

He stayed with the Citizens in the First Division and despite injury setbacks; he scored 12 times in just 15 appearances to help them to the title and an immediate return to the Premier League. Unfortunately, a knee injury was now hurting his career. He spent the entire 2002-2003 season on the treatment table and was a bit-part player on his return with Kevin Keegan having the services of Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler on his books.

Nevertheless, Wanchope still scored six times in 2003-2004, including a crucial winning goal at home to Newcastle United that effectively kept the club in the Premier League after severe threats against relegation. He moved to La Liga in the summer of 2004, signing for Malaga. Further spells came in Qatar, Japan and the United States before retiring in November 2007, citing his knee problems as the decisive factor in not being able to demonstrate his best form.

He moved into coaching and even had a spell as national team manager of Costa Rica but resigned in 2015 after video footage emerged of him hitting a match steward.

When fit, Paulo Wanchope had an excellent goalscoring pedigree and Derby County supporters will never forget that incredible debut bow in April 1997 at Old Trafford.

Great Goals: Anthony Martial – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2015)

On transfer deadline day in August 2015, Manchester United paid big money to sign Frenchman Anthony Martial from AS Monaco. Once all the instalments eventually go through on the deal, Martial will become the most expensive teenager of all-time.

He started on the bench for his debut match. Manchester United welcomed arch-enemies in Liverpool FC to Old Trafford and the first half was a drab affair between two teams who had both seen better days. Martial was introduced to the game at half-time and made a solid impression to start with as United went into a 2-0 lead through goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. The visitors’ were back in the game through a wonderful goal of their own by Christian Benteke before Martial’s magical moment.

From the wide position, he cuts inside, teasing and scaring the life out of Martin Skrtel. Martial beats the big Slovakian and then produces the perfect finish, not only securing United’s victory but immediately becoming a fan favourite. Welcome to the Premier League Anthony Martial!

Great Goals: Mario Stanic – CHELSEA vs. West Ham United (August 2000)

Going into the opening day of the 2000-2001 campaign, Chelsea are on a high after dismissing Manchester United in the Charity Shield. Their first game of the season was against London rivals West Ham United.

Mario Stanic was a new summer arrival at Stamford Bridge and keen to make an impression on the home crowd. This was some way to make it. Collecting possession, the midfielder does a bit of juggling in some space, teeing the ball up perfectly to connect with the sweetest dipping volley. Shaka Hislop gets nowhere near it and the Blues have a new hero.

Chelsea won the game 4-2 but finished a slightly underwhelming sixth in the final standings thanks to a poor away record. Injuries caught up with Stanic and he was forced to retire from playing in 2004 but this is a moment Chelsea fans will never forget.

Great Goals: Danny Rose – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs. Arsenal (April 2010)

It is your Premier League debut and it happens to be against your local rivals. To add more spice to the mixture, it is a game your side probably has to win to still stand a realistic hope of qualifying for the Champions League. You must be full of nerves?  Not if you’re Danny Rose.

Nine minutes in and Tottenham win a corner. The ball is swept in and punched clear by Manuel Almunia, only into the path of Rose. The left-back connects sweetly with the dropping ball and launches a thunderous volley from 30-yards out that beats Almunia all-ends-up. There was disbelief even from Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Rose was now in the history of this famous fixture.

Tottenham won 2-1 for their first league success against Arsenal since November 1999 and they would finish in the Premier League’s top four, helped heavily by this great impact from Rose.