Tag Archives: Manchester United

Great Goals: David Beckham – Wimbledon vs. MANCHESTER UNITED (August 1996)

On the opening day of the 1996-1997 season, David Beckham scored one of the greatest goals the Premier League has ever seen at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon.

Defending champions Manchester United were 2-0 up going into the dying stages of their first match of the season. When Efan Ekoku lost possession in the middle of the field and Brian McClair passed the ball to Beckham, nothing looked to be on for the midfielder. In his vision, he spotted Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan had strayed off his goal-line so with nothing to lose and everything to gain, Beckham decided to go for goal.

He measured his shot from inside his own half to perfection. Sullivan scrambled back but didn’t recover in-time as the ball flew over the top of him and into the net. It is a goal that even 23 years on, is still constantly repeated on highlights reels and social media.

It was a phenomenal and magical moment and set its goalscorer on his way to stardom, both on and off-the-field.


Premier League Rewind: 27th-28th August 2011

Results: Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic 2-0 Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Everton, Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City, Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland, Liverpool FC 3-1 Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City, Newcastle United 2-1 Fulham, West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Stoke City, Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

It was still early days in the 2011-2012 Premier League season but already, the form of the two Manchester clubs was looking fairly formidable as Manchester City and Manchester United destroyed the two north London clubs on a goal-filled Sunday afternoon of action. It set the trend for some incredible scorelines during the campaign between the top sides in the Premier League.

On the Saturday, Chelsea made it back-to-back victories but they were made to work hard for the win against newly-promoted Norwich City. The scoreline was tied at 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining when Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy conceded a penalty and was sent off. Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick before new signing Juan Mata scored the third goal to wrap the match up in the 11th minute of stoppage-time. It was the perfect start for the Spaniard who would become an important part of Chelsea’s successful season which ended with them winning the UEFA Champions League.

There was a dramatic game at Ewood Park between Blackburn Rovers and Everton. Blackburn were without a point from their opening two matches and were the better side in this match but missed their chances. Early in the second half, Rovers won a penalty but Tim Howard saved the spot-kick from Junior Hoillett. Incredibly, Blackburn were awarded a second penalty in the contest by referee Lee Mason and inexplicably, missed that too. Mauro Formica smashed his effort against the post. Then in stoppage-time, Mason pointed to the spot for a third time, this time for the visitors when Christopher Samba was adjudged to have fouled Marouane Fellaini. Mikel Arteta converted Everton’s penalty award to earn themselves a very fortunate three points. This would be Arteta’s last contribution for the club. He moved to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers maintained their unbeaten start to the season, achieving a point in an awful match at Villa Park against Aston Villa which saw just five shots on-target across the 90 minutes between the two teams. There were also no goals in south Wales as Sunderland held Swansea City to a 0-0 draw. Swansea were still awaiting their first goal at this level after three matches.

With Saturday’s action out of the way, attention switched to the Sunday matches and whilst Newcastle United beat Fulham and Stoke City recorded a late victory at The Hawthorns, the headlines were dominated by the showdown matches at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.

First in north London, Manchester City and in particular, Edin Dzeko, were in unstoppable form against Tottenham Hotspur. Dzeko scored four times and new signing Sergio Aguero scored his third goal since his summer arrival from Atletico Madrid. Manchester City won the game 5-1, inflicting the worst defeat on Harry Redknapp since he became Tottenham manager. As they hadn’t played their first match due to the London riots earlier in the month, the Lilywhites were bottom of the table and without a point from their opening two games.

However, that was beyond the problems Arsenal were experiencing. Star players Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas had been sold and despite a morale-boosting win in midweek in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Udinese, the Gunners were short on-numbers and quality ahead of their trip to Old Trafford. They experienced a nightmare afternoon as Manchester United went and surpassed City’s total – both when it came to margin of victory and number of goals. Wayne Rooney scored two inch-perfect free-kicks and a penalty whilst Ashley Young endeared himself to his new supporters with long-range strikes. Robin van Persie missed a penalty and Carl Jenkinson was sent off on a demoralising afternoon for Arsenal supporters. It finished 8-2 and was Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896. The pain on Wenger’s face was all too clear on the final whistle and he responded with a transfer deadline day spurge, signing Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos permanently whilst Yossi Benayoun came in on-loan to bolster his ranks.

What else happened in August 2011?

  • Five people are killed across five days of rioting in the UK following the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. London is badly affected by the riots and parliament is recalled from its holidays to deal with the crisis.
  • Colonel Gadhafi’s government is effectively overthrown in Libya after rebels take control of the capital, Tripoli.
  • NASA confirms that it has captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars.
  • Mobile internet use has reached 50% in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • Usain Bolt sensationally false starts and is disqualified from the men’s 100m final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu. His Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake takes gold in his absence.
  • MPs are to consider a House of Commons debate after an e-petition calling for the release of Cabinet documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.


Great Goals: Stephen Carr – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs. Manchester United (October 1999)

On a wet and murky Saturday afternoon in October 1999, Stephen Carr produced a long-range pile driver for Tottenham Hotspur against reigning champions Manchester United. Driving forward from the right-hand side of the centre circle, Carr had plenty of space to run into as Red Devils defenders, including Phil Neville retreated away from making a challenge.

With this invitation, Carr elected to try his luck from distance and his terrific shot zipped into the top corner of the net. New Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich had no chance to stop this shot but in all honesty, the man he replaced, Peter Schmeichel, would have struggled to keep this effort out too.

Tottenham enjoyed a 3-1 victory on the day and it was one of only three Premier League losses Manchester United suffered during a dominant 1999-2000 season which saw them retain the title by a comfortable 18-point margin.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 5-0 Manchester United (October 1996)

Goalscorers: Darren Peacock 12, David Ginola 30, Les Ferdinand 63, Alan Shearer 75, Philippe Albert 83


Newcastle United: Pavel Srnicek, Philippe Albert, John Beresford, Darren Peacock, Steve Watson (Warren Barton 87), David Batty, David Ginola, Rob Lee (Lee Clark 87), Peter Beardsley, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Ronny Johnsen (Paul Scholes 66), David May, Gary Pallister, Nicky Butt, Karel Poborsky (Brian McClair 66), David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Jordi Cruyff 56)

Referee: Steve Dunn, Attendance: 36,579

Manchester United and Newcastle United had developed an intense and bitter rivalry in the mid-1990s. The Red Devils had snatched the title in 1996, clawing back a 12-point deficit in mid-January on the Magpies to take their third Premier League championship in four years. This match in October 1996 was Newcastle’s chance to get their revenge and they did so in a wonderful exhibition of football that saw the reigning champions destroyed on a wet Sunday afternoon on Tyneside.

Newcastle took the lead in the 12th minute. From a David Ginola corner, Alan Shearer won his header against Gary Pallister and Darren Peacock stabbed his shot towards goal. It looked like Denis Irwin might have cleared the ball off the goal-line but the linesman adjudged the ball had crossed the line before Irwin’s intervention. Despite the protests from Peter Schmeichel, the goal was given.

Alex Ferguson and Kevin Keegan had been involved in a feisty war of words at the end of the previous season, leading to Keegan’s “I will love it if we beat them” rant live on Sky television in April 1996. Five months later, Keegan definitely loved this performance and on the half-hour mark, his team went 2-0 ahead. Ginola held off the attentions of Gary Neville, who allowed him to turn inside. The Frenchman unleashed a powerful drive which flew past Schmeichel before he could react to it. It was a sensational moment from the winger who was enjoying one of his best games in a Newcastle shirt. Shearer was unlucky not to make it 3-0 before half-time too when he struck the post with a long-distance strike. The home side were performing at an unbelievably high level.

Manchester United had to improve after the break and they nearly found a way back into the match soon after the restart. Karel Poborsky’s header was well-saved by Pavel Srnicek before a combination of Steve Watson and Peacock produced a goal-line clearance to deny Eric Cantona. Victory was virtually secured on 63 minutes when Shearer produced a delightful ball into the box and Les Ferdinand outjumped David May. The forward’s header went in off the underside of the crossbar. Manchester United’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season was going to end spectacularly.

Goal number four arrived on 75 minutes. Schmeichel did superbly to deny Peter Beardsley and Ferdinand but Shearer finally added his name to the scoresheet and he enjoyed the moment, having been goaded all afternoon by visiting fans after turning down the opportunity to sign for Manchester United that summer to come home to his boyhood club. The crowning on the performance was produced by Philippe Albert with seven minutes left to play. Rob Lee and David Batty played a quick passing exchange and with no pressure on him and spotting Schmeichel off his goal-line, Albert chipped the Dane with panache and class to complete a memorable afternoon.

This was Manchester United’s worst defeat for 12 years and Newcastle’s first-ever Premier League success over the reigning champions. However, by the end of the season, the championship trophy remained in the trophy cabinet at Old Trafford.

Memorable Matches: West Ham United 3-5 Manchester United (March 2002)

Goalscorers: Steve Lomas 8, David Beckham 17, 89 PEN, Freddie Kanoute 20, Nicky Butt 22, Paul Scholes 55, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 64, Jermain Defoe 78


West Ham United: David James, Christian Dailly, Vladimir Labant, Tomas Repka, Sebastien Schemmel, Nigel Winterburn (Jermain Defoe 74), Michael Carrick, Steve Lomas, Joe Cole, Paolo Di Canio, Freddie Kanoute

Manchester United: Fabien Barthez, Laurent Blanc, Ronny Johnsen, Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre, Nicky Butt, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Diego Forlan 84), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Quinton Fortune 87)

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 35,281

Manchester United had recovered brilliantly from a sloppy start to their title defence in the 2001-2002 Premier League season and the Red Devils had the chance to reassert their authority over their nearest challengers in March 2002 when they travelled to Upton Park to play West Ham United.

It turned into a pulsating contest with plenty of great attacking and some insipid defending from both teams. West Ham got the ball rolling after eight minutes. Czech defender Vladimir Labant delivered a brilliant cross into the penalty area and it was attacked with venom by Steve Lomas, whose header crashed past Fabien Barthez off the underside of the crossbar. Glenn Roeder’s side were looking for a rare league double over the Red Devils, having beaten them 1-0 at Old Trafford in December.

The champions’ response came in beautiful fashion from the England captain. On 17 minutes, Paul Scholes intercepted possession from Joe Cole, found David Beckham and he did the rest with an exquisite chip over his international colleague David James from the edge of the 18-yard box. It was delicate, classy and cheeky from Beckham and not his last vital contribution either.

Parity lasted though for just three minutes. Freddie Kanoute found some space in the visiting penalty area and lashed a shot beyond Barthez to put the home side back infront. However, Manchester United quickly levelled the scores again. Nicky Butt’s right-foot shot finding the net after being found by Beckham at a free-kick. The high-tempo continued from both teams in a breathless first 45 minutes but Ferguson’s side started to gain a stranglehold on the match early in the second half and took the lead for the first time 10 minutes after the restart. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer evaded the attentions of two defenders and his cross found an unmarked Scholes, who couldn’t miss from six-yards out.

As West Ham opened up even more, the clinical approach of Manchester United’s play was demonstrated further by their fourth goal, scored by Solskjaer. Despite the best efforts of James and Sebastian Schemmel who blocked efforts from Ruud van Nistelrooy and Solskjaer, the Norwegian was not to be denied at the third attempt of asking.

Within four minutes of his arrival from the bench, Jermain Defoe pulled the scoreline back to 4-3 with 12 minutes remaining but this time, the champions kept control and grabbed a fifth goal towards the end. Beckham’s second of a masterful performance came from the penalty spot after Tomas Repka had been penalised for fouling Scholes. The win put Sir Alex Ferguson’s side back at the top of the Premier League table but two further home defeats in the run-in, including a shock reverse to Middlesbrough a week later saw their three-year stranglehold on the Premier League ultimately ended by Arsenal.

Premier League Rewind: 22nd-24th March 1997

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

Having experienced a bad run in the early autumn of 1996 which included a three-game losing sequence, Manchester United had now embarked on a lengthy run of good form which had seen them lose just one of their previous 18 Premier League matches.

Favourites for a fourth championship in five seasons, the Red Devils extended that sequence with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. The goals came in each half. One from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the second from Eric Cantona which briefly gave Alex Ferguson’s side a five-point lead at the top of the table. It turned out to be Joe Royle’s last match as Everton manager. He resigned days later after just over two-and-a-half years in the role having led the Toffees to victory in the 1995 FA Cup final over Manchester United.

Title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool FC met each other two nights later in what always looked like being a decisive game in the title race. The match centred on a controversial incident midway through the second half. Liverpool were 1-0 up through Stan Collymore’s goal when Robbie Fowler was played through by Mark Wright and hurdled over David Seaman’s challenge in the penalty area. Referee Gerald Ashby gave a penalty despite Fowler’s persistence that there had been no contact and Ashby should change his mind. He didn’t and although the forward went on to have his spot-kick saved by Seaman, Jason McAteer scored the rebound and Liverpool held off a late Arsenal surge to win 2-1 and emerge as Manchester United’s closest challengers for the championship. Fowler later won a Fair Play award for his honesty in the incident with Seaman.

Newcastle United fell eight points behind Liverpool and therefore, an automatic UEFA Champions League qualification spot after being held to a 1-1 draw by Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. They remained narrowly ahead of the chasing pack which was now being led by Aston Villa. They moved up two positions to fifth in the table after recording a 2-0 away victory at Blackburn Rovers, courtesy of second half goals from Tommy Johnson and Dwight Yorke.

At the wrong end of the table, just six points covered the bottom six clubs. Southampton remained at the foot of the table after squandering an advantage twice to draw 2-2 at home with League Cup finalists Leicester City. Alan Neilson’s 70th minute own goal ensured a share of the spoils. Coventry City dropped into the relegation zone as their winless month continued against fellow strugglers West Ham United. Despite taking the lead through a Marc Rieper own goal, the Sky Blues were no match for the Hammers. Two goals from new signing John Hartson and a first-ever senior goal by Rio Ferdinand helped West Ham to a 3-1 victory. They had now lost just one of their last six matches.

Despite their three-point deduction being in-place, Middlesbrough climbed out of the relegation positions after gaining four points from two home matches, drawing 1-1 with Nottingham Forest two days after Juninho’s header saw them beat Chelsea 1-0. However, Boro’s demanding schedule with their deep involvement in the cup competitions would ultimately catch up with their players in the final reckoning.

What else happened in March 1997?

  • Prime Minister John Major announces the 1997 General Election will be held on 1st May.
  • Unemployment levels continue to drop to 1.8 million which is the lowest level since December 1990.
  • After declaring the Conservative Party as “tired, divided and rudderless,” The Sun newspaper decides to back Labour and Tony Blair ahead of the General Election.
  • Channel 5 begins broadcasting in the UK as the fifth major terrestrial station.
  • The English Patient wins Best Picture at the 69th Academy Awards.
  • Julius Chan resigns as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
  • A pile-up on the M42 motorway in Bromsgrove involves 160 vehicles. Three people die and 60 are injured.

Great Goals: Wayne Rooney – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers (March 2007)

This goal from Wayne Rooney was the first time he won the BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Season award. It came in March 2007 during Manchester United’s commanding 4-1 home victory over Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers.

The move began from a Bolton throw-in but it led to nothing and Cristiano Ronaldo gained possession on the edge of his own area. Ronaldo then linked up beautifully with Rooney before the pair started a sensational counter-attacking move. Ronaldo continued motoring down the centre of the park with Rooney on his left and Ryan Giggs on his right-hand side.

Ronaldo then fed Rooney in and he produced the calmest of delicate flicks over the advancing Jussi Jaaskelainen. This was counter-attacking football at its absolute finest with the ball ending up in Bolton’s net just 10 seconds after Ronaldo had won possession. All four corners of Old Trafford applauded a stunning piece of quality from this dynamic duo.

Shock Results: Manchester United 2-3 Derby County (April 1997)

Goalscorers: Ashley Ward 29, Paulo Wanchope 35, Eric Cantona 47, Dean Sturridge 75, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 76


Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Ronny Johnsen, Gary Pallister (Paul Scholes 86), Gary Neville (Denis Irwin 70), Phil Neville, Nicky Butt (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 45), Roy Keane, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Derby County: Mart Poom, Christian Dailly, Jacob Laursen, Chris Powell, Paul McGrath, Paul Trollope, Darryl Powell, Robin van der Laan, Dean Sturridge, Ashley Ward, Paulo Wanchope (Paul Simpson 65)

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 55,243

Going into the final two months of the 1996-1997 Premier League season, Manchester United seemed to have one hand on the title. Alex Ferguson’s side had lost just once since early November in the league and were heavy favourites to beat Derby County at Old Trafford. Derby were in mid-table and gave debuts to Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom and 20-year-old Costa Rican forward Paulo Wanchope whilst Manchester United preferred Andy Cole upfront to top scorer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A win here would take Ferguson’s side six points clear of their nearest rivals.

Roy Keane had the first significant opportunity of the afternoon, nodding a header wide of the post from a delicate Ryan Giggs cross. The reigning champions dominated the early exchanges as expected and Giggs tested Poom’s reflexes with a point-blank header which the new Derby goalkeeper was equal to. So, it was a real shock to see Jim Smith’s side go into the lead.

Paul Trollope launched a ball to the back post and Wanchope won his header against Phil Neville. Ashley Ward’s strike wasn’t the cleanest but it bounced over Peter Schmeichel’s head and into the net. Six minutes later, Wanchope’s debut turned into a staggering contribution. He picked up possession and despite his fairly leggy style, he ran clean through past four Manchester United defenders, showed some great dribbling skills and nudged the ball beyond Schmeichel’s reach. Almost unknown to everyone before kick-off, the whole world now knew who Paulo Wanchope was.

Derby continued to boss proceedings and could have been leading 3-0 at half-time. Ward forced Schmeichel into two smart stops and then hit the post as the defence seemed to be standing likes statues. This was an error-strewn display from the table-toppers and Ferguson was bound to have got the hairdryer treatment out at half-time. He took off the disappointing Nicky Butt during the break and put Solskjaer on. There was an immediate response from the captain. Solskjaer picked out Eric Cantona, who brought down the ball superbly, held off his marker Trollope and then shot across Poom’s bows and into the back of the net.

Derby held firm though and with 15 minutes left, virtually secured a shock victory. Dean Sturridge nodded the ball past an overcommitted Schmeichel and when the ball hit the post, the bounce fell perfectly for Sturridge to score one of the easiest goals of his career. It was a poor performance from the entire Red Devils backline. Solskjaer immediately pulled a goal back when he made the most of an unfortunate flick-on from Paul McGrath but Derby held on for a memorable and deserved victory.

Manchester United remained unbeaten after this defeat to register a fourth Premier League title in five seasons. This was only Derby’s second away win of the season but it was the boost they needed and Smith’s side would finish a fine 12th in their debut Premier League campaign.

Iconic Moments: Giggs’ last goal (February 2013)

There is often a huge debate for who has been the greatest player in Premier League history. Certainly the most successful is Ryan Giggs and it will take something to beat the Welshman’s incredible tally of 13 Premier League title-winning medals.

Giggs also holds the record for most consecutive seasons to score in the Premier League with his feat standing at 21 campaigns. His first goal in the Premier League was a wonderful individual effort away at Tottenham Hotspur in September 1992. He was still producing the goods two decades later with the second goal in a 2-0 away victory at Queens Park Rangers in February 2013.

It turned out to be Giggs’ last-ever goal for Manchester United. He retired in May 2014 after making a club-record 963 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 168 goals. After retirement, he spent two years as Louis van Gaal’s assistant before leaving when the Dutchman was sacked. He is now the international manager of Wales but will always be considered one of the finest players to have graced both Manchester United and the Premier League.

Shock Results: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United (February 2011)

Goalscorers: Nani 3, George Elokobi 10, Kevin Doyle 40


Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wayne Hennessey, Christophe Berra, George Elokobi, Richard Stearman, Ronald Zubar, Adam Hammill (Stephen Ward 65), Karl Henry, Nenad Milijas (Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 89), Jamie O’Hara (Kevin Foley 59), Matt Jarvis, Kevin Doyle

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Jonny Evans (Chris Smalling 65), Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Rafael, Michael Carrick (Paul Scholes 45), Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Nani, Dimitar Berbatov (Javier Hernandez 65), Wayne Rooney

Referee: Michael Oliver, Attendance: 28,811

Wolverhampton Wanderers looked in desperate relegation trouble as the 2010-2011 Premier League season entered the month of February. Mick McCarthy’s side had conceded late in the midweek defeat to Bolton Wanderers and were bottom of the table when league leaders Manchester United travelled to Molineux for a Saturday evening kick-off.

It had already been a spectacular goal-filled afternoon with 37 goals in seven earlier Saturday matches and another three followed here, with one of the biggest surprises of the campaign so far. Wolves had already shown they could upset the big teams and had defeated Manchester City, Liverpool FC and Chelsea during the campaign. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s champions-elect were on a 29-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, the third-longest in the competition’s history.

The formbook indicated the visitors should leave the Midlands with all three points and inside three minutes, they were already into the lead. In some of the best form of his Manchester United career, Nani broke down the right-hand side of the pitch, twisted and turned past George Elokobi and fired a left-footed shot inside Wayne Hennessey’s near post. The Portuguese international was starting to finally fulfil his potential that had always been evident since his 2007 transfer from Sporting Lisbon.

However, their advantage lasted a meagre seven minutes. Matt Jarvis produced an excellent cross into the danger area and Elokobi made amends for being beaten comprehensively for Nani’s goal with a towering header for his first goal of the season. Ferguson’s side had lost Rio Ferdinand in the warm-up to a calf injury and his leadership was being missed, as his replacement Jonny Evans struggled to deal with Wolves’ strong physical presence on proceedings.

Buoyant by the equaliser, Wolves began to sense the Red Devils were there for the taking. On-loan midfielder, Jamie O’Hara was making his debut for the club and he impressed throughout, forcing 40-year-old goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar into an improvised save whilst Nenad Milijas saw a free-kick nearly creep past the Dutchman via a nasty deflection off Nemanja Vidic.

Then, Wolves got a deserved lead five minutes before the interval. From another Milijas set-piece, Kevin Doyle just beat teammate Elokobi to the header and for the second time in the evening, United had been completely bullied at a set-piece scenario. Wolves were ahead and the impossible result suddenly looked like a distinct possibility.

There was a lack of response from the Red Devils after the break. Even the introduction of veteran midfielder Paul Scholes and expert substitute Javier Hernandez couldn’t break Ferguson’s side out of their slumber. Scholes even got booked in the closing stages for a deliberate handball when attempting to meet a cross.

Wolves claimed another impressive victory, repeating their 2004 success over Manchester United and it was a vital result as they avoided relegation on the final day of the season in dramatic circumstances.

Iconic Moments: Manchester’s Monday showdown (April 2012)

As soon as the fixtures for the 2011-2012 season were released, there was plenty of anticipation about the second meeting between city rivals, Manchester City and Manchester United. To be held at The Etihad Stadium at the end of April in Gameweek 36, many believed even months before that this could be the most pivotal match of the season.

When Sky Sports made their television selections for the closing weeks of the campaign, they moved the fixture to Monday 30th April 2012 and so the eyes of the football world were firmly fixed on Manchester for this crucial evening in the title race.

Weeks earlier, Manchester United had an eight-point lead and looked like they were coasting to a 20th English league championship. However, they lost to Wigan Athletic before blowing a two-goal lead at home to Everton to draw 4-4. Manchester City knew victory would get them back to the top of the table.

The Citizens were the better team throughout and right on the stroke of half-time, skipper Vincent Kompany met David Silva’s corner with a firm header that beat David de Gea to give the hosts the lead. They held on for a 1-0 victory to take them top with two games left to play thanks to goal difference.

It was a major moment and a crucial moment during the most thrilling title race in Premier League history.

Premier League Rewind: 12th-14th February 2011

Results: Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City, Arsenal 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City 1-0 Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Newcastle United, Blackpool 1-1 Aston Villa, Liverpool FC 1-1 Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion 3-3 West Ham United, Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Everton, Fulham 0-0 Chelsea

Having seen their 29-match unbeaten run in the Premier League stretching back to the end of the previous campaign end at Molineux a week earlier, Manchester United were keen to return to winning ways on the 12th-14th February 2011 weekend. Their motivation was bound to be huge though as they were about to do battle with local rivals, Manchester City.

City had recently flexed their financial power again in the January transfer window, acquiring Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko from 2009 Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg. Roberto Mancini’s side were keen to record their first away victory since Boxing Day at Newcastle United. They fell behind though four minutes before the interval when Ryan Giggs’ superb pass allowed Nani to race clear and put the league leaders ahead infront of the Stretford End. The Citizens equalised on 65 minutes when Dzeko’s shot fortunately deflected off teammate David Silva. The game needed a special moment of quality to separate the sides and it was provided 12 minutes from time.

Nani’s cross took a slight deflection but this allowed Wayne Rooney to spin in mid-air and produce the most wonderful overhead kick into the back of Joe Hart’s net. It remains one of those iconic moments and one of the finest goals The Manchester Derby has ever seen. United held on to win 2-1 and move eight points clear of Mancini’s men, also with a game in-hand. Rooney’s goal ended up winning Greatest Goal accolades at the 20 Seasons Awards.

Arsenal kept up the pressure as the Gunners ensured Wolves wouldn’t be able to produce anymore giant-killing stories. Mick McCarthy’s side had already beaten Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the season but couldn’t repeat the feat against the Gunners. Robin van Persie scored both goals for Arsenal in a straightforward 2-0 victory and ensured they maintained just a four-point deficit to the Red Devils in the table.

At The Hawthorns, Roy Hodgson was watching in the directors’ box as he was poised to succeed Roberto Di Matteo as boss. West Brom had the leakiest defence in the division and this was in evidence again against fellow strugglers West Ham United. West Brom raced into a 3-0 lead after just 32 minutes but they caved in after the break. Demba Ba scored twice for the Hammers as they showed some battling resilience to claim a 3-3 draw and edge themselves off the bottom of the table on goal difference at Wolves’ expense.

Wigan Athletic remained in the bottom three but picked up a valuable point away at Anfield against in-form Liverpool FC. Raul Meireles continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, scoring for the fifth time in six matches but Steve Gohouri rescued a point to end the home side’s run of four successive victories.

Birmingham City picked up a vital victory to ease their relegation concerns, as Nikola Zigic’s goal three minutes into injury-time was enough to win the game against Stoke City 1-0. That result took Birmingham above Second City rivals Aston Villa, who were performing well below expectations in 16th position. Villa’s latest disappointment was a 1-1 draw away at Blackpool, leaving them just three points above the drop zone.

What else happened in February 2011?

  • The military take control of Egypt following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after widespread protests.
  • Critically-acclaimed movie The King’s Speech wins four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  • Christchurch in New Zealand is rocked by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Over 180 people are killed, including a large number of foreign citizens.
  • The House of Commons votes overwhelmingly against prisoners receiving the right to vote, winning 234-22.
  • The ban on product placement in television programmes is lifted in the UK, allowing advertisers to pay for their goods to be seen in TV shows, dramas and soap operas.
  • Craig Oliver, a BBC executive replaces Andy Coulson as David Cameron’s Director of Communications.
  • Online publisher The Huffington Post is bought by AOL in a staggering $315 million deal.