At the end of a season fans always look back and wonder what the pivotal moments were where which caused my team to finish in the position that they did. For Manchester United there were lots of moments this season that you could say cost the team their 20th league championship.
The 3-2 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers, getting utterly trounced at home by Manchester City in the derby, drawing at home and losing 3-0 away to Newcastle United all stand out as games that cost United the championship…
..however when United fans look back years from now at the 2011/12 season, there’s only one game and arguably only one moment alone which was where the Premier League title slipped away and that was the 4-4 draw at home to Everton.
It was a game that Everton were always going to be up for. After losing the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to Liverpool the Sunday before, there was no way that any David Moyes team wasn’t going to make life difficult and that there were coming to Old Trafford that afternoon to fight and make it up for their fans.
Every Everton player to a man was outstanding that day. Nikica Jelavic up front showed on that day alone why Moyes paid Rangers £5 million for his services; Tony Hibbert showed once again his consistency in the absence of Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini bossed the game and Steven Pienaar showed Spurs fans just how good he really is with a dazzling performance.
Despite conceding a lead themselves and being two goals down on two occasions, Everton were worth their point on that important afternoon however it would have been oh-so different had Patrice Evra’s close-range header from Antonio Valencia’s cross gone in off the post instead of bouncing back into play off of it.
Had Evra’s header gone in it would have made the score 5-2. Sadly it didn’t and Everton broke down the right and with both full-backs out of position a cross wasn’t dealt with and Jelavic slotted home a difficult chance to make it 4-3 on 83 minutes.
A minute later Pienaar scored after slacker defending and incredibly United had dropped two valuable points. Manchester City were to later beat doomed Wolves in the 4pm kick-off cutting the lead at the top of the table to 3 points.
City’s win at The Etihad over United a few weeks later may have seen them climb to the top of the table on goal-difference but Everton’s draw at Old Trafford effectively won them the league as it meant that United had no ‘insurance’ points in hand which would have kept them top of the table after defeat to their great rivals.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87