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United’s Highs & Lows

Posted by Keano! on May 30, 2009

Another season has come and gone in the world of football and as always, it brings its highs and lows. MUN has comprised a list of United’s Five Highs and Five Lows for the 2008/2009 season. Some are blatantly obvious, and some maybe not so much, but either way, everyone will have their views on the season.

While the lows were hard to come by in all fairness, the highs list was endless and triumphs in the World Club Cup and Carling Cup miss out on MUN’s top 5 believe it or not along with Ryan Giggs stunning achievement of landing the PFA Player Of The Year award for the first time in his illustrious career.

Low – 5

Carlos Quiroz Leaves United

At five in our list of lows, its Carlos Quiroz’s departure from United as Sir Alex’s assistant manager. Carlos, who was instrumental in persuading Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at United after events at the  World Cup with teammate Wayne Rooney, was believed to be a major influence on some of Sir Alex’s decisions regarding team selection and tactical moves. Whilst some were glad he was out of the club, the incoming Mike Phelan, former coach, did seem to lack something that Carlos had. Whilst Mike has been great for United this season, some people still wonder how United would have fared had Carlos stayed with us. As it turns out, I doubt we could have done better, but nevertheless, its hits Low point number five on our list.

High – 5

Chelsea Spanked At Old Trafford

The Chelsea Job at Old Trafford was a simply amazing match. Who on earth would have said a 3-0  home win before kickoff? Not me anyway. The game also saw one of, if not the “move” of the season as Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs combined to take the cheekiest of corners at the end of the first half and it ended up in Cristiano Ronaldo scoring, but alas, it was ruled out incorrectly. Injustice was felt by us United fans…for all of 15 seconds…as when the corner was retaken, Nemanja Vidic stole in at the back post to give United the lead and send the Chelsea heads hanging as they walked into the dressing rooms. Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov added two more in the second half and Ronaldo almost capped a remarkable game with a stunner from distance. I think you’ll agree that this feat was worthy of a place in our list of Highs in this season, coming in at five.

Low – 4

United’s FA Cup Blues

All the talk of the “Quintuple” were crushed by a Phil Jagielka spot kick at Wembley as United bowed out of the FA Cup semi-final in a penalty shootout against David Moyes’ men. After a real stalemate of a game, Everton came out on top when they had seemed out of it as Tim Cahill blasted his penalty over the crossbar to get Everton off to the worst possible start. But United missed through Ferdinand and most notably Dimitar Berbatov who’s penalty earned him boos at United’s next match from sections of the fans, which was disappointing to see. It ruled out a final showdown with Chelsea for the silverware and with Chelsea going onto win it, United must feel that they really missed out on a wonderful chance to win the FA Cup for the second season running when they lost to Portsmouth in the quarter-final last season, and had they progressed, they would have been playing a much, much weaker team. Portsmouth eventually going onto win the cup last season. Spot the United fan in the picture.

High – 4

‘Kiko’ The Saviour!

Ferderico Macheda, ever heard of him? Well you will have heard his name now but before the 17 year olds stunning winner against Aston Villa at Old Trafford, many of the fans at Old Trafford that day wouldn’t have heard of the Italian and eyebrows would have been raised when Ferguson brought him on. Well, what an inspired substitution as Macheda grabbed a priceless winner against Aston Villa to complete a comeback by United which saw them put a bad run to an end and back to winning ways. The win was tipped as the turning point in the season by many fans and once Macheda made another substitute appearance at the Stadium Of Light and scored within a minute of arriving, he was tipped as the turning point of the season earning United 6 points on their way to lifting the Premier League.

Low – 3

Fletch Ruled Out Of Rome

Darren Fletchers unjustified red card at The Emirates against Arsenal in the semi-final second leg left a bitter taste in United fans as what should have been a joyous occasion beating Arsenal 3-1 away from home and booking their flights to Rome, were marred by the knowledge that one of the stand out players of the season wouldn’t be playing after a poor refereeing decision. When Cesc Fabregas bore down on Edwin Van Der Sar’s goal, Fletcher, albeit from an awkward angle, stretched his boot around Fabregas’ side and nicked the ball away. The fact that the ball actually was diverted away from the goal was a clear sign the Scotsman had got the ball and hence made a perfect, outstanding challenge. The referee saw it differently showing Fletcher a red card which ruled Darren out of a meeting with Barcelona in Rome. Arsenal’s Robin Van Persi converted the resulting spot kick, smashing it high into the roof of the net leaving Edwin Van Der Sar with no chance of saving it.

High – 3

Van Der Sar Keeps It Clean

Edwin broke the single-season world record for longest time without conceding a goal as he went a staggering 1,289 minutes without having to pick the ball out of his net. It was ended, as it had to be at some stage against Newcastle United when a fumble by Edwin allowed ex-Rangers man, Peter  Løvenkrands to slot home the goal. While al lot of recognition goes to Van Der Sar for this feat, a lot of it has to go to Nemanja Vidic and the United defence which was shuffled around a lot during the 1,289 minutes spell. Players like, John O’Shea, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Rafael Da Silva, Gary Neville, Johnny Evans, Fabio Da Silva and Richard Eckersley all played their part in helping Van Der Sar keep them out of the United goal. But at the end of the day, its the Dutchman’s name who will go beside the name with Manchester United in brackets beside that. It was a wonderful side point on the whole season.

Low – 2

Limp Display In Rome

Champions League final, what an occasion and it should have been an event on our list of Highs, but  purely down to the performance it ranks at number two in the Low points of the season. Result aside, as football can go either way, but when you perform so poorly and allow a team dominate so, so much on such a big stage, you’re asking to be beaten. What makes it all even worse is the fact that we had actually started incredibly well, with Ronaldo fizzing a free kick in and Ji-Sung Park almost converting the rebound. Ronaldo then had two very good efforts go narrowly wide as the confidence grew and grew and then stopped growing as Barcelona snatch a goal against the run of play. The reaction after that was beyond belief as United simply capitulated on the field and lost all sense of their earlier domination. So for the event in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, and mainly the performance, its the bitter pill to swallow that was the Champions League 2-0 defeat to Barcelona which, falls into the Low point number 2.

High – 2

Comeback Kings

Anyone remember a certain game at White Hart Lane when United went in at half time 3 goals down, and I believe we managed to turn that one around and win 5-3…hmm. Well it was an eerily similar game at Old Trafford this season as Tottenham Hotspur romped to a 2-0 lead inside 45 minutes and had many United fans hoping for a draw at most. Well, as Sir Alex has done so many times, he rallied the troops to see the Spurs lead fall away in what was the best 45 minutes the team produced all season with Ronaldo converting a dubious penalty early on and Wayne Rooney notching up two goals, Ronaldo another one and then Dimitar Berbatov bundling one in to seal the win. 5-2 at the end and it was an absolutely breathtaking game. United really needed the win too as with Liverpool still nipping away and applying the pressure, the Champions had to respond and boy, oh boy did they respond!Performance of the season?

Low – 1

Humiliated At Home

I don’t think I have to even say anymore really, do I? Well, it was a dark day for United fans as not only did rivals Liverpool destroy us at home, but they had completed a double over us after their 2-1 win at Anfield at the start of the season. An incredible start when Ronaldo banged home a penalty when Reina fouled Ji-Sung Park, but it was to turn sour when Fernando Torres gambled on Nemanja Vidic messing up a clearance which he did and the Spaniard pounced to slot a cool finish beyond Van Der Sar. Steven Gerard sent Old Trafford from shocked mode to stunned mode as he scored a penalty giving Liverpool the lead at Old Trafford. And United don’t get penalties given against them at Old Trafford…yea right. The second half didn’t get much better as Nemanja Vidic saw red when fouling Gerard who was about to be one-on-one with Van Der Sar and the resulting free kick was scored by Aurelio making it an unbelievable 3-1 score line in favour of the Scousers. Just to add a bag of salt to the wounds and grinding it in, Dossena managed to score a fourth. I’ll leave it there and just say it was the lowest point of the season for United.

High – 1

Premier League Champions

I know, I know, its the obvious selection, but why not? It wasn’t only an 18th League title, it was an 11th Premier League crown and more importantly a record equalling feat to Liverpool’s 18 League titles. The season started with doubts, a draw at home to Newcastle in the opening game, a defeat away to Liverpool, questions over Ronaldo’s commitment and a trip to Japan on the horizon where our rivals could have really pulled away, but it all worked out so well. They didn’t capitalise on our trip away and instead we came back, beat Stoke City away which is no mean feat and according to Sir Alex, it was the turning point in the season, and from there really, bar the odd blip, we powered our way to the title sealing it at Old Trafford against Arsenal. Not only that, but it was the third title in a row for United and Ferguson was thrilled with the trophy being locked up inside Old Trafford again. An unbelievable season beating off  a stiff challenger in Liverpool all ended well and now the challenges for all the other clubs is whetted even more as the desire to knock United of their perch will be stronger then ever before next season. Speaking of knocking things off perches, Sir Alex claimed he would knock Liverpool off their perch when he joined, well Sir Alex you’ve lived up to your expectation in that regard.


That’s concluded MUN’s Highs and Lows of the season and I hoped you enjoyed dreading them. Now comes your part where you can agree or disagree with the above moments or give your own take on some of the ones above by adding a comment below.

Feel free to comment – Your comments matter

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