Tag Archives: Manchester United

Iconic Moments: The greatest Manchester Derby ever? (September 2009)

Some say it is one of the greatest games the Premier League has ever seen.  Certainly, it is one of the finest Manchester derbies to have ever been played. The meeting of Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in September 2009 was a special occasion.

It was the first time back at the Theatre of Dreams for Carlos Tevez since his controversial switch across the city that summer but his new club were quickly behind. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring inside three minutes.  It was 1-1 at half-time though. Tevez robbed Ben Foster of possession and Gareth Barry scored his first Manchester City goal.

Goals were exchanged throughout a belting second half. There were braces for both Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy. Bellamy’s second goal came on the brink of time added on and made the score 3-3. It looked like the points would be shared. However, this was Manchester United in “Fergie Time.”

Ryan Giggs picked out a wonderful pass for substitute Michael Owen. Owen kept his composure to beat Shay Given and score his first goal at Old Trafford since his summer arrival from Newcastle United. On the touchline, Mark Hughes was seething.  He felt the allotted time had been played well before Owen’s winner.  For now, the noisy neighbours had been silenced but the rivalry between the two clubs was greater than it ever had been.

It was an entertaining and dramatic contest which was voted the ‘Greatest Match’ by fans at the 20 Seasons awards in 2012.

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Shock Results: Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United (August 1995)

Goalscorers: Ian Taylor 14, Mark Draper 27, Dwight Yorke 36 PEN, David Beckham 82

Teams:

Aston Villa: Mark Bosnich, Alan Wright, Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu, Paul McGrath, Gary Charles, Ian Taylor, Andy Townsend, Mark Draper, Dwight Yorke (Riccardo Scimeca 86), Savo Milosevic (Tommy Johnson 50)

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Paul Parker, Denis Irwin, Gary Pallister (John O’Kane 59), Gary Neville, Phil Neville (David Beckham 45), Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Lee Sharpe, Paul Scholes, Brian McClair

Referee: Robbie Hart, Attendance: 34,655

Manchester United felt like a wounded club in the summer of 1995. Having won the double in 1994, they ended up empty-handed one season later.

Alex Ferguson’s response was to sell star players Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis and Mark Hughes. Ince moved to a new culture of football of Serie A with Inter Milan, Kanchelskis switched to Everton and Hughes moved to Chelsea. With injuries keeping out Steve Bruce, Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs, plus Eric Cantona’s lengthy suspension, it was a much-changed Red Devils line-up that travelled to Villa Park on the opening weekend of the 1995-1996 campaign. Aston Villa had undergone a huge squad overhaul themselves. The likes of Ray Houghton, Dean Saunders, Dalian Atkinson and Kevin Richardson were discarded and in came Gareth Southgate, Mark Draper and from Yugoslavia, Savo Milosevic. Villa produced a quality display on a sun-drenched afternoon in Birmingham.

Brian Little opted for a three-man defence, comprising of Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu and Paul McGrath. This allowed the more attack-minded Gary Charles to push forward and his tactics worked, especially as Charles played a significant part in the opening goal on 14 minutes. His dangerous cross into the penalty area was turned in by Ian Taylor. Taylor was in his first full season at the club after moving from Sheffield Wednesday in December 1994. He was already a hero of the Holte End.

It was a speedy counter-attack that led to Villa’s second. The new strike partnership of Dwight Yorke and Milosevic combined to tee-up Draper on 26 minutes for a debut goal. United were struggling without many of their regulars and a third goal came nine minutes before the interval. Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel fouled Milosevic in the penalty area. Yorke routinely converted the spot-kick to make the scoreline 3-0. It was already a result that would raise plenty of eyebrows.

Ferguson probably peeled the paint off the visitors’ dressing room walls at half-time. He made a number of tactical changes, including reverting to a traditional 4-4-2 formation. He brought on David Beckham at half-time and his long-range strike with eight minutes left at least ensured some reward for a better second half display. However, the damage had been inflicted long before Beckham’s very first Premier League goal.

Ferguson defended his team in the media but the written press had a field day and BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen famously said a few hours after the result: “He has to buy players. You can’t win anything with kids!”

Manchester United would end the season with their second league and cup double in three seasons.

Great Goals: Dimitar Berbatov – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2010)

With Wayne Rooney struggling for form after a difficult summer at the World Cup in South Africa, Manchester United turned to Dimitar Berbatov to fill the goalscoring void. Seen as a misfit after struggling to find any serious form in 2009-2010, the Bulgarian could be brilliant on his day. In September 2010 against Liverpool FC, he was outstanding.

Berbatov had already put the home side infront, evading some slack marking from Fernando Torres to head home from a corner. In the 58th minute, he made it 2-0 with a sublime bicycle kick. Darren Fletcher started the move with a long ball that found Nani out wide. Paul Konchesky backed off the winger, allowing the Portuguese to cross the ball into the Liverpool box. It found Berbatov who controlled it superbly in the air. Still with his back to goal, he produced a special overhead kick that left Pepe Reina completely stranded.

A quick-fire double from Steven Gerrard pulled Liverpool FC back into the contest but it was Berbatov’s day. He headed home a late winner to complete his hat-trick. This was his match and a vintage moment from a player who was always capable of the spectacular.

Great Goals: Ryan Giggs – Tottenham Hotspur vs. MANCHESTER UNITED (September 1992)

In the very first season of the Premier League, Ryan Giggs was one of the biggest stars. Still only a teenager, the Welshman’s lightning pace and box of tricks made him a nightmare to play against. He scored one of his best Premier League goals in September 1992 when Manchester United made the trip to White Hart Lane.

Still goalless with half-time in sight, Giggs took possession and beat two Tottenham defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and then with the angle tightening, produced a fine finish into the back of the net. This goal demonstrated all of Ryan’s strong attributes as a youngster.

Tottenham did score in the second half to ensure the game finished all-square at 1-1 but this match is only remembered for a wonderful individual effort by Giggs.

Premier League Rewind: 13th-14th April 2001

Results: Liverpool FC 1-2 Leeds United, Bradford City 2-0 Charlton Athletic, Manchester United 4-2 Coventry City, Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough, Aston Villa 2-1 Everton, Chelsea 1-0 Southampton, Ipswich Town 1-0 Newcastle United, Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City, Sunderland 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United 3-1 Derby County

The Easter weekend in April 2001 would ultimately turn out to be the decisive weekend where the destiny of the Premier League title race would be settled. In reality, there wasn’t much of a title race. Manchester United had made sure of that. Six weeks earlier, they’d battered closest rivals Arsenal 6-1 at Old Trafford. It wasn’t if, but when they wrapped up a seventh title in nine seasons.

On Easter Saturday, they received their first opportunity to wrap up the championship by kicking off at lunchtime at home to Coventry City. The Sky Blues’ were five points adrift of safety and desperate to start picking up points if they wanted to maintain their excellent top-flight record. They pushed their more illustrious opponents all the way and the score was 2-2 at half-time. Dwight Yorke and John Hartson had exchanged goals. The match was only decided in the last nine minutes. A looping Ryan Giggs header and Paul Scholes curler sealed United’s 4-2 victory. It meant that Arsenal had to win later that afternoon against Middlesbrough to keep the mathematical solutions going.

Arsenal hadn’t conceded in their last four matches and Middlesbrough were still not entirely safe of relegation yet. Many would have had home banker on their betting slips that afternoon but it wouldn’t play to the formbook. Brazilian pair Edu and Silvinho scored two own goals for Middlesbrough in four crazy first half minutes. Hamilton Ricard’s 58th minute strike sealed an unbelievable 3-0 victory at Highbury for Boro. Incredibly, they managed just one shot on target all afternoon. Arsenal’s hopes were mathematically over and Manchester United were champions yet again, ending the weekend 16 points clear with five games left to play.

The race to finish in third position had actually begun 24 hours earlier when Liverpool FC and Leeds United locked horns on Good Friday at Anfield. It was a Good Friday for Leeds who claimed a priceless win to make it four consecutive victories. Rio Ferdinand scored his first goal for the club and Lee Bowyer cashed in on some static defending to double the visitors’ lead before half-time. Liverpool rallied in the second half and Steven Gerrard reduced the deficit before being harshly sent off for two bookable offences. Defeat left Gerard Houllier’s side in sixth spot and six points off third place. They had games in hand but no more errors could be afforded now.

Incredibly, it was newly-promoted Ipswich Town that were holding down third spot and they continued to defy their critics who kept maintaining that they would fade away. Another three points were racked up on their tally against Newcastle United. It was Sir Bobby Robson’s first return to Portman Road as a manager since his memorable stint with the East Anglian side in the early 1980s. However, it ended unhappily for Robson as Nolberto Solano was sent off and Marcus Stewart’s penalty settled a fairly timid match.

Sunderland had been in the shake-up for much of the season but for the second campaign running, their form was starting to elude them just when European football beckoned on Wearside. They made an electric start against Tottenham Hotspur. Goals by Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn had the home side 2-0 ahead inside of 12 minutes. However, Tottenham had other ideas, particularly central defender Gary Doherty. Playing as an emergency forward, Doherty scored twice in the last 15 minutes as Tottenham stormed back to win 3-2. That meant new manager Glenn Hoddle had chalked up two victories in three matches since succeeding George Graham in the post.

By contrast, whilst Tottenham were finding a bit of consistency, Leicester City were beginning to consistently lose matches. They were fifth after beating Liverpool FC 2-0 in early March but since then lost five straight games and dropped out of the top half. The latest damaging reverse came to relegation candidates Manchester City. Paulo Wanchope scored the pick of the goals in the visitors’ 2-1 win at Filbert Street.

Elsewhere, Gus Poyet took Chelsea into the top five with the winner at home to Southampton and Bradford City just about kept their mathematical prospects of beating the drop alive by defeating Charlton Athletic 2-0. The goals came from Robbie Blake and Benito Carbone. The win was only the fourth achieved all season by the Bantams’ but relegation confirmation would follow just a fortnight later.

What else happened in April 2001?

  • The Netherlands becomes the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
  • Former Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic is to be tried on charges of war crimes after surrendering to special police forces.
  • The ‘Who Shot Phil?’ storyline reaches its conclusion in EastEnders. Lisa Shaw is revealed as the character that shot Phil in an episode watched by 20 million viewers.
  • Red Marauder wins the 2001 Martell Grand National at Aintree. Only two horses from the 40 starters complete the course.
  • Tiger Woods wins the US Masters at Augusta.
  • Channel 4 teatime quiz show Countdown celebrates its 3000th episode.
  • Mariah Carey signs a blockbuster contract with Virgin Records, worth $80 million for four albums.

Shock Results: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Manchester United (January 2004)

Goalscorer: Kenny Miller 66

Teams:

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Michael Oakes, Paul Butler, Jody Craddock, Denis Irwin, Richard Naylor, Alex Rae, Paul Ince, Shaun Newton, Mark Kennedy, Steffen Iversen (Ioan Ganea 80), Kenny Miller

Manchester United: Tim Howard, Mikael Silvestre, John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand (Wes Brown 50), Phil Neville (Diego Forlan 68), Quinton Fortune, Roy Keane, Darren Fletcher (David Bellion 65), Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy

Referee: Andy D’Urso, Attendance: 29,396

In January 2004, Manchester United travelled to bottom-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers with two targets. Score plenty of goals and increase their points lead over unbeaten Arsenal. They left Molineux with no goals, no points and lost total momentum in their bid for a ninth Premier League title.

United had drawn 0-0 a week earlier against Newcastle United which had seen Arsenal cut their advantage at the top of the table to just two points. By contrast, Wolves had won just four games all season and looked destined for an instant return to the First Division. However, they ripped up the Premier League formbook with this performance.

The visitors’ made the trip to the Black Country without Ryan Giggs who was missing with a back injury. It would also be Rio Ferdinand’s swansong for the season. He was due to start his eight-month ban after this match for missing a drugs test back in mid-September. The England defender wouldn’t finish the game either. He sustained an early injury after an accidental collision with Kenny Miller and limped off five minutes into the second half.

Predictably, it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s side that produced the best of the opportunities in a scoreless first half. Ruud van Nistelrooy was the major threat but for once, the Dutchman was wasteful infront of goal. He sent a spectacular overhead kick narrowly over the crossbar midway through the first half and then, four minutes before the interval, incredibly heading over the bar when virtually on the goal-line to nod home.

Dave Jones’ side has defended resolutely and came out of their shell in the second half. In the 48th minute, ex-Manchester United star Paul Ince drove a shot from 25 yards that struck the post. 28 minutes later, they produced the unexpected and took the lead. Miller had been a threat all day and when the league leaders’ lost possession carelessly from their own throw-in, the Scot picked up the loose ball. He left Wes Brown trailing in his wake and as he bore down on-goal, kept his composure to slide a cool finish past American shot-stopper Tim Howard.

Ferguson’s side were shell-shocked. They dominated possession but even after falling behind, didn’t carve out enough moments to get back into the match. The closest they came was through substitute David Bellion. He found some space inside the penalty area with 16 minutes left to play but was kept out by Wolves goalkeeper Michael Oakes.

There were scenes of mass celebration inside the ground at full-time. Wolverhampton Wanderers would ultimately be relegated at the end of the season but it was one of those “I was there” moments for the lucky home supporters at Molineux. This was the day where the champions were left stunned.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United (March 1996)

Goalscorer: Eric Cantona 52

Teams:

Newcastle United: Pavel Srnicek, John Beresford, Philippe Albert, Steve Howey, Warren Barton, David Batty, Rob Lee, Peter Beardsley, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Phil Neville, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 36,584

On Monday, 4 March 1996, the eyes of the football world were fixed on Tyneside and the eagerly-anticipated meeting between the top two in the 1995-1996 title race. Newcastle United had set the pace all season but they were now under the most scrutiny they’d ever experienced.

In mid-January, Newcastle beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 to go a staggering 12 points clear but February had brought about a damaging defeat away to West Ham United and a 3-3 draw with relegation candidates Manchester City. They arrived into the match just four points clear of Manchester United.

The Red Devils’ were in great form. Alex Ferguson’s side had strung together a five-game winning sequence which had included a 6-0 thumping of the league’s bottom side Bolton in their last away match. They had the confidence and the momentum. This looked like being the most crucial game of the season for both teams.

It was Andy Cole’s first return to St James’ Park since his surprise departure 14 months earlier in a £7 million transfer to Manchester United but he and Eric Cantona barely got a look-in during a first half completely dominated by the hosts. Unfortunately for Kevin Keegan’s side, Peter Schmeichel was saving his best form for this match.

Twice in the opening five minutes, Schmeichel show his uncompromising attitude to the game by denying Newcastle star striker and top scorer Les Ferdinand. He had no chance though with a Philippe Albert free-kick. The Belgian defender was desperately unlucky to see his effort crash off the crossbar. From the rebound, Ferdinand hoisted the ball over the top. The Newcastle faithful might have been beginning to get the feeling that this wasn’t going to be their night.

Six minutes into the second half, Manchester United struck the significant blow in clinical fashion. Cole was involved in the build-up, evading challenges on the edge of the penalty area. Phil Neville produced a delightful cross to the back post, where an unmarked Cantona arrived. He hit his shot into the ground and there was enough power on it to spin past Pavel Srnicek’s dive. The celebrations from Cantona’s teammates indicated what a big goal this was.

Newcastle had 61% possession in total and 16 attempts on goal but simply couldn’t find a way through. This was their first home defeat of the season and it trimmed their advantage down to just a single point, but with a game in hand. After this result, Manchester United were made favourites by the bookies’ to win the title for the first time since the 1995-1996 season began.

Ferguson’s side grew even stronger after this result. They dropped just five more points in their remaining matches and eventually won their third Premier League title by four points. This was the night where the destiny of the 1995-1996 championship swayed in favour of Manchester United.

Iconic Moments: ‘The Return’ ends badly for Mourinho (October 2016)

It was a relationship that looked like the perfect marriage; Chelsea and Jose Mourinho together. During his two stints in charge, Mourinho would win three Premier League titles, three League Cup trophies and the FA Cup. When the Blues’ cantered to the title in 2014-2015, it looked like a new Mourinho dynasty at Stamford Bridge was set to sweep the Premier League.

Their collapse the following season was nothing short of remarkable. The players seemed to down tools on the manager and for everything Mourinho tried, including desperation tactics, form didn’t improve. After a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City in December 2015, Mourinho admitted afterwards he felt his work was “betrayed.” The hierarchy decided the manager was to blame and sacked him three days later. At the end of the season, he was confirmed as Louis van Gaal’s successor at Manchester United.

Mourinho had always wanted to manage the Mancunian club and now here was his chance to stamp his authority on another huge global side. In October 2016, the time had come for his first domestic return to Stamford Bridge. Sky Sports billed it as “The Return.”

It would be a painful afternoon for Mourinho as he watched his side ripped to shreds by Antonio Conte’s high-energy unit. Pedro put Chelsea infront inside 30 seconds after miscommunication between Chris Smalling and David de Gea. Slack marking allowed Gary Cahill to add a second from a corner shortly afterwards. Further efforts in the second half from Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kane added to Chelsea’s glee. Their fans could rejoice in a wonderful performance and a 4-0 final scoreline. All Mourinho could do was digest this disappointment as he was on the receiving end of a bad afternoon against the fans and club that used to idolise him.

 

Premier League Rewind: 6th-8th February 1999

Results: Aston Villa 1-3 Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea 1-0 Southampton, Leeds United 0-1 Newcastle United, Leicester City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool FC 3-1 Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Coventry City, West Ham United 0-4 Arsenal, Derby County 2-1 Everton, Charlton Athletic 2-0 Wimbledon

In the early weeks of February 1999, four sides still held genuine realistic chances of becoming Premier League champions. Just two points covered leaders Manchester United, second-placed Chelsea, early season pacesetters Aston Villa and reigning champions Arsenal. By the end of the 6th-8th February weekend, it became crystal clear that only three sides had serious title credentials.

Aston Villa’s form in the early weeks of 1999 was already concerning. They had managed just one victory at home to Everton and had been dumped out of the FA Cup by First Division Fulham. Nevertheless, John Gregory would still have been expecting a home victory against relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers. It didn’t turn out the way he hoped. Gareth Southgate scored an embarrassing own goal and further strikes from Ashley Ward and David Dunn helped Blackburn to an impressive 3-1 victory. It meant a league double over the Villans’ whose form completely collapsed. They would take just three points from their next eight matches and dropped to sixth by the season’s end.

If Villa’s challenge had completely wilted, Manchester United’s was in top gear. They visited bottom-placed Nottingham Forest and ran riot at the City Ground. Alan Rogers did briefly equalise after Dwight Yorke had given the league leaders an early lead but it went swiftly downhill from there for the home side. Yorke added another goal and there were two for his strike partner Andy Cole. At 4-1 up with 18 minutes left, Yorke was substituted to his clear disappointment and on came Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He would leave his mark with an incredible four-goal haul of his own from the bench. The 8-1 final scoreline means it remains the biggest away victory in Premier League history.

Arsenal were now hitting their stride too. Out of Europe, their focus was now solely on retaining the league and cup double they’d managed in 1998. They won 4-0 at Upton Park with a classy attacking performance that was reminiscent of the closing weeks of their title triumph the previous season. Dennis Bergkamp was at his best, opening the scoring and completely controlling the game. It was a home debut to forget for Paolo di Canio but at least he didn’t get into any trouble against Arsenal – unlike his experience earlier in the season as a Sheffield Wednesday player.

Whilst Manchester United and Arsenal were winning with more than something to spare, Chelsea took the prudent approach. Gianfranco Zola’s free-kick was good enough to beat Southampton 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Gianluca Vialli’s side would continue to dig in and made it a real three-way fight all the way until mid-April when their exertions in the Cup Winners’ Cup would catch up on their title challenge.

Leeds United were having an excellent season under David O’Leary but they came unstuck at home to mid-table Newcastle United. Nolberto Solano scored the only goal of the game to mark the Yorkshire’s club third defeat in their last four outings. This galvanised Leeds though, who would go on a stunning run of seven successive victories to match the mark set by Don Revie’s great side of the early 1970s.

Elsewhere, Liverpool FC moved into the top six with a 3-1 home victory over Middlesbrough. Like the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, defender Vegard Heggem was on target for the Reds’, who were well in control and 3-0 up by half-time. Defender Dominic Matteo was sent off in the second half but Middlesbrough could only muster a late consolation through substitute Phil Stamp.

On Monday Night Football, Charlton Athletic were absolutely desperate for a victory against Wimbledon. Charlton had gone 13 games without a win since beating West Ham United 4-2 at the backend of October and that had included a seven-game losing sequence which had seen them plummet from 9th to 19th. Martin Pringle picked the best time to score his first Addicks’ goal and a comical own goal by Dean Blackwell ensured a priceless 2-0 victory for Alan Curbishley’s side although the season would end with heartache on the final day and relegation from the top-flight after one season in the elite.

What else happened in February 1999?

  • After a year of allegations, strain and defence, Bill Clinton is acquitted of impeachment proceedings in the US senate.
  • King Hussein of Jordan dies from cancer and is succeeded by his son, Abdullah II.
  • While trying to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, Colin Prescot and Andy Elson set a new endurance record after being aloft for 233 hours and 55 minutes.
  • 31 people are killed when an avalanche dismantles the small Austrian village of Galtür.
  • The BBC announces that Noel’s House Party will be axed after eight successful years.
  • Kelly Brook succeeds Denise van Outen as co-presenter of The Big Breakfast on Channel 4.
  • Lauryn Hill makes history at the Grammy Awards by being the first female artist to win five Grammys in one night.

Shock Results: Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers (December 2011)

Goalscorer: Yakubu 16 PEN, 51, Dimitar Berbatov 52, 62, Grant Hanley 81

Teams:

Manchester United: David de Gea, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones, Rafael (Will Keane 85), Ji-Sung Park, Antonio Valencia, Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez (Anderson 46), Danny Welbeck

Blackburn Rovers: Mark Bunn, Grant Hanley, Jason Lowe, Christopher Samba, Adam Henley, Radosav Petrovic, Ruben Rochina (Josh Morris 55), Mauro Formica (David Goodwillie 85), Steven N’Zonzi, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Yakubu (Jordan Slew 89)

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 75,146

Blackburn Rovers arrived at Old Trafford on New Years’ Eve 2011 in real trouble. Despite a battling draw on Boxing Day at Anfield, they were bottom of the table and favourites to be relegated. Not only did Steve Kean have to deal with this problem, he was struggling to win over supporters who never seemed to accept him as the club’s manager.

By contrast, Manchester United were in devastating form. They had scored 10 goals in two matches without conceding and this was a chance to start 2012 as the league leaders. It was Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday. Unfortunately, his side decided to be rather charitable and gave him a nasty birthday surprise.

With the taxing festive programme, Ferguson elected to rotate his squad. Michael Carrick played as a makeshift centre-back whilst Wayne Rooney was rested. His move to leave his top goalscorer in the stands backfired. Blackburn made the better start and led after 13 minutes. From a free-kick, Dimitar Berbatov grappled with Christopher Samba and hauled the central defender to the ground. Mike Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Yakubu took his time and converted the resulting spot-kick.

Whether it was the gloomy Manchester weather or the lunchtime kick-off but it took the reigning champions far too long to wake up. They only created half-chances in the first 45 minutes. Blackburn goalkeeper Mark Bunn only had two saves of real note to make. At half-time, Javier Hernandez was withdrawn and replaced by Anderson as Ferguson looked for more all-round balance.

However, Blackburn went 2-0 up six minutes after the restart as Yakubu struck again. He took advantage of some static defending, largely from ex-Blackburn defender Phil Jones. The Nigerian prodded the ball between de Gea’s legs to shock the Theatre of Dreams. Before the visitors’ could relax though, United immediately responded. Berbatov, who had scored a treble on Boxing Day at home to Wigan Athletic, made amends for his early penalty gaffe. He nodded home from close-range after Rafael’s wayward shot ended up in his path. The Bulgarian soon equalised. Antonio Valencia left 17-year-old Adam Henley behind on the right-hand side. His cross was guided home by Berbatov for his sixth goal in three games. Surely, the home side would complete the turnaround? Not so.

With 10 minutes left, Morten Gamst Pedersen’s corner was met by 20-year-old centre-back Grant Hanley. He was physically stronger than de Gea in the air, beating him to his attempted punch with a header. It was cleared off the line, but he reacted quickest to the follow-up. United nearly pinched a point in injury-time but Jones’ goal bound effort hit his own player, Will Keane on the line. All in all, it was a slumbering display from the usually reliable Red Devils.

It was a cracking win for Blackburn but they would end the season saying their goodbyes to the Premier League. Manchester United missed out on the title on goal difference to Manchester City. This was a damaging result for their title ambitions.

Seasonal Records: 1998-1999

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1998-1999 Premier League season; the last full season of the 20th century.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 22 13 3 80 37 +43 79
2 Arsenal 38 22 12 4 59 17 +42 78
3 Chelsea 38 20 15 3 57 30 +27 75
4 Leeds United 38 18 13 7 62 34 +28 67
5 West Ham United 38 16 9 13 46 53 -7 57
6 Aston Villa 38 15 10 13 51 46 +5 55
7 Liverpool FC 38 15 9 14 68 49 +19 54
8 Derby County 38 13 13 12 40 45 -5 52
9 Middlesbrough 38 12 15 11 48 54 -6 51
10 Leicester City 38 12 13 13 40 46 -6 49
11 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 14 13 47 50 -3 47
12 Sheffield Wednesday 38 13 7 18 41 42 -1 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 13 14 48 54 -6 46
14 Everton 38 11 10 17 42 47 -5 43
15 Coventry City 38 11 9 18 39 51 -12 42
16 Wimbledon 38 10 12 16 40 63 -23 42
17 Southampton 38 11 8 19 37 64 -27 41
18 Charlton Athletic 38 8 12 18 41 56 -15 36
19 Blackburn Rovers 38 7 14 17 38 52 -14 35
20 Nottingham Forest 38 7 9 22 35 69 -34 30

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 963
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), West Ham United (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Leeds United)
Longest unbeaten run 21 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 19 games (Nottingham Forest)
Longest losing run 8 games (Charlton Athletic)
Highest attendance 55,316 (Manchester United vs. Southampton)
Lowest attendance 11,717 (Wimbledon vs. Coventry City)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Young Player of the Year Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal)
Football Writers’ Award David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Denis Irwin, Sol Campbell, Jaap Stam, Gary Neville, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, David Beckham, David Ginola, Nicolas Anelka, Dwight Yorke
Manager of the Year Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Steve Froggatt (COVENTRY CITY vs. Everton)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Clive Mendonca Charlton Athletic vs. Southampton 5-0 22nd August 1998
Michael Owen Newcastle United vs. Liverpool FC 1-4 30th August 1998
Michael Owen (4) Liverpool FC vs. Nottingham Forest 5-1 24th October 1998
Dion Dublin Southampton vs. Aston Villa 1-4 14th November 1998
Robbie Fowler Aston Villa vs. Liverpool FC 2-4 21st November 1998
Chris Armstrong Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 4-1 28th December 1998
Darren Huckerby Coventry City vs. Nottingham Forest 4-0 9th January 1999
Dwight Yorke Leicester City vs. Manchester United 2-6 16th January 1999
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Southampton 7-1 16th January 1999
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4) Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester United 1-8 6th February 1999
Nicolas Anelka Arsenal vs. Leicester City 5-0 20th February 1999
Kevin Campbell Everton vs. West Ham United 6-0 8th May 1999

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Dwight Yorke Manchester United 18
1= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Leeds United 18
1= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 18
4= Andy Cole Manchester United 17
4= Nicolas Anelka Arsenal 17
6= Julian Joachim Aston Villa 14
6= Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 14
6= Hamilton Ricard Middlesbrough 14
6= Alan Shearer Newcastle United 14
6= Dion Dublin Coventry City & Aston Villa 14
11= Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 12
11= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 12
11= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 12
11= Gus Poyet Chelsea 12
15= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 10
15= Tony Cottee Leicester City 10
15= Noel Whelan Coventry City 10
15= Marcus Gayle Wimbledon 10
19= Deon Burton Derby County 9
19= Lee Bowyer Leeds United 9
19= Ian Wright West Ham United 9
19= Paulo Wanchope Derby County 9
19= Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur 9
19= Kevin Campbell Everton 9
19= Darren Huckerby Coventry City 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999
Liverpool FC 7-1 Southampton 16th January 1999
Everton 6-0 West Ham United 8th May 1999
Middlesbrough 1-6 Arsenal 24th April 1999
Arsenal 5-0 Leicester City 20th February 1999
Everton 5-0 Middlesbrough 17th February 1999
Charlton Athletic 5-0 Southampton 22nd August 1998
Leicester City 2-6 Manchester United 16th January 1999
Manchester United 5-1 Wimbledon 17th October 1998
Arsenal 5-1 Wimbledon 19th April 1999

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999
8 Liverpool FC 7-1 Southampton 16th January 1999
8 Leicester City 2-6 Manchester United 16th January 1999
7 Middlesbrough 1-6 Arsenal 24th April 1999
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Chelsea 21st September 1998
7 Derby County 3-4 Newcastle United 3rd April 1999
7 West Ham United 3-4 Wimbledon 9th September 1998
7 Aston Villa 3-4 Charlton Athletic 8th May 1999
6 Everton 6-0 West Ham United 8th May 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Wimbledon 17th October 1998
6 Arsenal 5-1 Wimbledon 19th April 1999
6 West Ham United 1-5 Leeds United 1st May 1999
6 West Ham United 5-1 Derby County 17th April 1999
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Nottingham Forest 24th October 1998
6 Coventry City 1-5 Newcastle United 19th September 1998
6 Aston Villa 2-4 Liverpool FC 21st November 1998
6 Leicester City 2-4 Chelsea 21st November 1998
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 West Ham United 24th October 1998
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Newcastle United 28th December 1998
6 Southampton 3-3 Middlesbrough 7th November 1998

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Owen Morrison Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Leicester City 17 years, 18 days 26th December 1998
Joe Cole Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United 17 years, 2 months, 2 days 10th January 1999
Gareth Barry Everton 0-0 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 23 days 15th August 1998
Adam Murray West Ham United 5-1 Derby County 17 years, 6 months, 18 days 17th April 1999
Paul Konchesky Charlton Athletic 2-2 Newcastle United 17 years, 8 months, 2 days 17th January 1999
Chris Doig Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest 17 years, 10 months, 13 days 26th December 1998
Mikael Forssell Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea 17 years, 10 months, 16 days 31st January 1999
Wayne Bridge Southampton 1-2 Liverpool FC 18 years, 11 days 16th August 1998
Francis Jeffers Derby County 2-1 Everton 18 years, 13 days 7th February 1999
Alan Smith Liverpool FC 1-3 Leeds United 18 years, 17 days 14th November 1998

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic West Ham United 2-0 Coventry City 41 years, 3 months, 16 days 28th December 1998
Dave Beasant Nottingham Forest 1-3 Chelsea 39 years, 11 months 20th February 1999
Dave Watson Southampton 2-0 Everton 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 16th May 1999
Richard Gough Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Nottingham Forest 37 years, 1 month, 3 days 8th May 1999
Hans Segers Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 10 months, 20 days 19th September 1998
Mark Bright Everton 4-1 Charlton Athletic 36 years, 10 months, 18 days 24th April 1999
Stuart Pearce Liverpool FC 4-2 Newcastle United 36 years, 8 months, 4 days 28th December 1998
Kevin Hitchcock Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Chelsea 36 years, 7 months, 5 days 10th May 1999
Steve Bould Arsenal 1-0 Derby County 36 years, 5 months, 16 days 2nd May 1999
Raimond van der Gouw Manchester United 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday 36 years, 24 days 17th April 1999

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 David Seaman Arsenal 19
2 Shaka Hislop West Ham United 15
3= Ed de Goey Chelsea 14
3= Kasey Keller Leicester City 14
3= Thomas Myhre Everton 14
6= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 13
6= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 13
8 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 11
9 Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 9
10 Mart Poom Derby County 8

Seasonal Records: 1997-1998

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1997-1998 Premier League season, as a third Premier League team emerged as a championship-winning side.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 68 33 +35 78
2 Manchester United 38 23 8 7 73 26 +47 77
3 Liverpool FC 38 18 11 9 68 42 +26 65
4 Chelsea 38 20 3 15 71 43 +28 63
5 Leeds United 38 17 8 13 57 46 +11 59
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 10 12 57 52 +5 58
7 Aston Villa 38 17 6 15 49 48 +1 57
8 West Ham United 38 16 8 14 56 57 -1 56
9 Derby County 38 16 7 15 52 49 +3 55
10 Leicester City 38 13 14 11 51 41 +10 53
11 Coventry City 38 12 16 10 46 44 +2 52
12 Southampton 38 14 6 18 50 55 -5 48
13 Newcastle United 38 11 11 16 35 44 -9 44
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 11 16 44 56 -12 44
15 Wimbledon 38 10 14 14 34 46 -12 44
16 Sheffield Wednesday 38 12 8 18 52 67 -15 44
17 Everton 38 9 13 16 41 56 -15 40
18 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 13 16 41 61 -20 40
19 Barnsley 38 10 5 23 37 82 -45 35
20 Crystal Palace 38 8 9 21 37 71 -34 33

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1019
European qualifiers Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Crystal Palace (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 10 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 15 games (Crystal Palace)
Longest losing run 8 games (Crystal Palace)
Highest attendance 55,306 (Manchester United vs. Wimbledon)
Lowest attendance 7,688 (Wimbledon vs. Barnsley)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Michael Owen (Liverpool FC)
Football Writers’ Award Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Graeme Le Saux, Colin Hendry, Gary Pallister, Gary Neville, David Batty, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, Michael Owen
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Goal of the Season Dennis Bergkamp (Leicester City vs. ARSENAL)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Dion Dublin Coventry City vs. Chelsea 3-2 9th August 1997
Chris Sutton Aston Villa vs. Blackburn Rovers 0-4 13th August 1997
Gianluca Vialli (4) Barnsley vs. Chelsea 0-6 24th August 1997
Dennis Bergkamp Leicester City vs. Arsenal 3-3 27th August 1997
Ian Wright Arsenal vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-1 13th September 1997
Patrik Berger Liverpool FC vs. Chelsea 4-2 5th October 1997
Andy Cole Manchester United vs. Barnsley 7-0 25th October 1997
Andy Booth Sheffield Wednesday vs. Bolton Wanderers 5-0 8th November 1997
Gianfranco Zola Chelsea vs. Derby County 4-0 29th November 1997
Tore Andre Flo Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea 1-6 6th December 1997
Duncan Ferguson Everton vs. Bolton Wanderers 3-2 28th December 1997
Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers vs. Aston Villa 5-0 17th January 1998
Michael Owen Sheffield Wednesday vs. Liverpool FC 3-3 14th February 1998
Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers vs. Leicester City 5-3 28th February 1998
Darren Huckerby Leeds United vs. Coventry City 3-3 25th April 1998
Jurgen Klinsmann (4) Wimbledon vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2-6 2nd May 1998

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 18
1= Chris Sutton Blackburn Rovers 18
1= Dion Dublin Coventry City 18
4= Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 16
4= Andy Cole Manchester United 16
4= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Leeds United 16
4= Kevin Gallacher Blackburn Rovers 16
8 John Hartson West Ham United 15
9 Darren Huckerby Coventry City 14
10 Paulo Wanchope Derby County 13
11= Marc Overmars Arsenal 12
11= Dwight Yorke Aston Villa 12
11= Francesco Baiano Derby County 12
11= Paolo di Canio Sheffield Wednesday 12
11= Nathan Blake Bolton Wanderers 12
16= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 11
16= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 11
16= Steve McManaman Liverpool FC 11
16= Gianluca Vialli Chelsea 11
16= Duncan Ferguson Everton 11
16= Egil Ostenstad Southampton 11
22= Ian Wright Arsenal 10
22= Rod Wallace Leeds United 10
22= Emile Heskey Leicester City 10
22= Neil Redfearn Barnsley 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 7-0 Barnsley 25th October 1997
Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea 24th August 1997
West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998
Blackburn Rovers 7-2 Sheffield Wednesday 25th August 1997
Manchester United 6-1 Sheffield Wednesday 1st November 1997
Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 Chelsea 6th December 1997
Arsenal 5-0 Barnsley 4th October 1997
Liverpool FC 5-0 West Ham United 2nd May 1998
Derby County 0-5 Leeds United 15th March 1998
Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa 17th January 1998

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Blackburn Rovers 7-2 Sheffield Wednesday 25th August 1997
8 Chelsea 6-2 Crystal Palace 11th March 1998
8 Wimbledon 2-6 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd May 1998
8 Blackburn Rovers 5-3 Leicester City 28th February 1998
7 Manchester United 7-0 Barnsley 25th October 1997
7 Manchester United 6-1 Sheffield Wednesday 1st November 1997
7 Tottenham Hotspur 1-6 Chelsea 6th December 1997
7 Wimbledon 2-5 Manchester United 22nd November 1997
7 Sheffield Wednesday 2-5 Derby County 24th September 1997
7 Bolton Wanderers 5-2 Crystal Palace 2nd May 1998
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Leeds United 14th September 1997
7 West Ham United 4-3 Leicester City 10th May 1998
7 Barnsley 4-3 Southampton 14th March 1998
7 Leeds United 4-3 Derby County 8th November 1997
6 Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea 24th August 1997
6 West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998
6 Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Coventry City 31st January 1998
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Chelsea 5th October 1997
6 Chelsea 4-2 Southampton 30th August 1997
6 West Ham United 2-4 Southampton 25th April 1998

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Francis Jeffers Manchester United 2-0 Everton 16 years, 11 months, 1 day 26th December 1997
Gareth Barry Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Aston Villa 17 years, 2 months, 9 days 2nd May 1998
Michael Owen Wimbledon 1-1 Liverpool FC 17 years, 7 months, 26 days 9th August 1997
Danny Cadamarteri Derby County 3-1 Everton 17 years, 11 months, 1 day 13th September 1997
Michael Ball Newcastle United 1-0 Everton 17 years, 11 months, 22 days 24th September 1997
Junior Agogo Newcastle United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday 18 years, 8 days 9th August 1997
Stephen McPhail Leicester City 1-0 Leeds United 18 years, 1 month, 29 days 7th February 1998
Aaron Hughes Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United 18 years, 2 months, 2 days 10th January 1998
Richard Dunne Everton 3-2 Bolton Wanderers 18 years, 3 months, 7 days 28th December 1997
Paolo Vernazza Arsenal 1-0 Crystal Palace 18 years, 3 months, 20 days 21st February 1998

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic Leeds United 3-3 Coventry City 40 years, 7 months, 13 days 25th April 1998
Neville Southall Everton 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 39 years, 2 months, 13 days 29th November 1997
Peter Beardsley Bolton Wanderers 1-5 Coventry City 37 years, 13 days 31st January 1998
Gary Mabbutt Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Southampton 36 years, 8 months, 17 days 10th May 1998
Peter Shirtliff Southampton 4-1 Barnsley 36 years, 7 months, 2 days 8th November 1997
Dave Watson Everton 1-1 Coventry City 36 years, 5 months, 20 days 10th May 1998
Clive Wilson Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton 36 years, 4 months, 22 days 4th April 1998
Ian Rush Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United 36 years, 2 months, 21 days 10th January 1998
Stuart Pearce Newcastle United 3-1 Chelsea 36 years, 8 days 2nd May 1998
Ludek Miklosko Derby County 2-0 West Ham United 35 years, 11 months, 27 days 6th December 1997

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 16
2 Kasey Keller Leicester City 14
3= David Seaman Arsenal 13
3= Mart Poom Derby County 13
5 Ed de Goey Chelsea 12
6= David James Liverpool FC 11
6= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 11
6= Tim Flowers Blackburn Rovers 11
9 Keith Branagan Bolton Wanderers 10
10 Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 9