To go with yesterday’s article in which I picked out the first 5 games out of 10 key results that helped us win the Premier League, Here’s the remaining 5 games which I believe proved key to us reclaiming back the title.
If before reading on, you want to find out what the first 5 games I chose were, you can find out by clicking here.
6) West Brom (A) Won 2-1:
On New Year’s Day,
It’s always important to start a new year well and on New Year’s Day 2011, that’s exactly what we did at the Hawthorns. Whilst our performance was hardly a classic again this was an important point in the season for us as it ensured.
Yes we were slightly lucky in the game as Gary Neville really should have been sent off in the first half for his foul on Graham Dorrans that went unnoticed, but again it was a game that we won ‘ugly’ so to speak, which is a trademark of championship-winning teams.
West Brom at the time were unhappy that they didn’t get a penalty at the time, then again when they did get a penalty midway through the second half which Peter Odemwingie embarrassingly missed it.
Wayne Rooney put us in the lead with an old-fashioned header early on before James Morrison equalised for the Albion with a kind of strike that’ll no doubt be put on all the Greatest Goals DVD’s that’ll churn out every Christmas. Chicharito won it for us with 15 minutes to go pouncing inside the box from a corner, in what would become a trademark for the little pea.
7) Blackpool (A) Won 3-2:
Sensational is the only word that can sum up our comeback victory at Bloomfield Road. Ian Holloway’s brave team roared into a 2-0 lead at half-time as slack defending from corners allowed Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell to head the Tangerines into dreamland.
Thankfully for us, that dream became a nightmare as with Blackpool’s legs tiring our boys took full advantage. Sir Alex’s decision to bring on both Ryan Giggs and Chicharito after half time turned the game on it’s head as their pace and intelligence seemingly woke everyone else up on the pitch.
After Dimitar Berbatov brought us back into the game on 72 minutes, we didn’t look back and after Chicharito coolly slotted in after Giggsy put him in 2 minutes later, you just knew we’d take the three points which we did thanks to Berba’s goal two minutes from time.
The momentum was with us and despite Rafael getting injured following a nasty head collision, two minutes from time Berba struck again to seal a famous win for us on the sea-side which gave our boys even more confidence as our unbeaten run in the league at that stage stayed intact.
8) Manchester City (H) Won 2-1:
It’s always been important for us to beat City. But due to City’s riches over the last couple of seasons, the Manchester Derbies are now becoming even more important games to win what with City now being a ‘force’ so to speak in the Premier League.
After surprisingly losing away to Wolves the week before, there was alot of doubt by the media going into this game that it would be hard for us to bounce back and that City apparently would take full advantage.
How wrong they were. Despite City having good spells on the ball in which they created some chances, we went into half-time leading thanks to Nani’s smart finish. After half time City got a lucky break when Eden Dzeko’s aimless shot struck David Silva on the back and looped into the net with Edwin Van der Sar wrong-footed.
It was one of the flukiest goals that Old Trafford has witnessed, but incredibly we hit back with Rooney scoring a breath-taking overhead kick from a deflected Nani cross to put us back in the lead. It was an incredible goal and had Old Trafford rocking in pure unadulterated joy at the brilliance of the goal.
It was a great moment for Rooney and was the goal that kick-started what proved to be a good second-half of the season for our number 10, who we the United fans were so happy to have back to his best.
9) West Ham United: Won 4-2:
Our win at Upton Park was certainly another game that we can look back on as a real game that helped us win the league. With us being 2-0 down at half time following two Mark Noble penalties, not alot looked on for us after a lacklustre first half performance.
As ever with United over the years, those who had been writing us off were proved wrong as the game was turned on it’s head in a sensational 16-minute spell which saw Rooney grab a hat trick.
His first a freekick from just outside the area was magical, his second a low powerful strike was clinical and his penalty after Rafael’s cross had been handled was simply right on the money.
To make matters even worse for West Ham, Chicharito sealed the game for us tapping in Giggsy’s cross-shot. It was some performance by Giggs who performed brilliantly at left back, filling in for Patrice Evra after our first choice left-back was taken off at half time to make way for Chicharito by Sir Alex, with us obviously needing a more attacking option to get back in the game.
As good a victory as this was for us, the manner in which we fought back to win would have really crushed our title-rivals what with us seemingly being out of the game. It was no suprise then that later that day both Arsenal and Chelsea drew their respective matches to add even more gloss on our victory down in East London.
10) Chelsea (H) 2-1:
Despite securing our 19th title with a draw away at Ewood Park the weekend before last, it was the win over our Chelsea that clinched the title for United fans worldwide.
Our performance in a game that we could not afford to lose, was out of this world as right from the first whistle we proved too much for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who were only 3 points behind us going into the game.
Chicharito’s early strike after 36 seconds stunned Chelsea and when Vidic headed a second for us after 23 minutes, it effectively put the game out of reach for the visitors before the first half was even completed.
Incredibly the scoreline actually flattered the Blues, as only a mixture of poor finishing from our strikers, last ditch defending and outstanding goal keeping from Petr Cech kept the scoreline to a somewhat respectable score.
Once again this was a game where United came to the fore and where it really mattered put on their best performance of the season. Even when Lampard scored for Chelsea midway through the half we never looked like panicking as man-for-man Chelsea couldn’t cope with our all-out energetic display.
The scenes at the end of the game with the boys celebrating on the pitch due to the importance of the win will never be forgotten as will the sight of Sir Alex bowing down to the fans up in the crowds as he made his way down the tunnel and back into the dressing rooms. It was truly a joy to behold.
By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87
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