Poacher Turned Gamekeeper: Knocking Liverpool off Their Perch

Date: Sunday, 8 May 2011

Manchester United: 2 (Chicharito, Vidic)

Chelsea: 1 (Lampard)

Attendance: 75,445

Manchester United and Chelsea had some epic battles in the late naughties, as Arsenal began their quest to continually finish in fourth place, after their invincible season in 2004. It would be Chelsea who would provide the challenge both domestically and on the European front.

United were only three games away from securing a 19th Premier League title and finally knocking Liverpool off their famous perch. Liverpool were sat on 18 top-flight trophy hauls. Chelsea were in town and were only trailing United by three points, a win would put them level with two games left.

The game couldn’t have started any better for the Red Devils. Ji Sung Park, picking up the ball in the centre of the pitch and sliding a delightful ball through to Javier Hernandez. Both John Terry and David Luiz failed to get to the ball and Chicharito was left free to bear down on Petr Cech’s goal. The little pea slotted the ball past the helpless Chelsea custodian to fire United into a 36-second lead.

With 22 minutes on the clock, a left field cross from a corner was met by the head of the skipper, Nemanja Vidic. Vidic climbed above his marker to nod down into the far bottom corner. Chelsea were 2-0 down and reeling. United continued to press and nearly made the pressure count, but for a fine save from Petr Cech, to deny Park.

The second half ebbed and flowed as both sides continued to try to work the game in their favour. Fernando Torres was brought on to add to the impressive firepower at the disposal of the Londoners. Unfortunately, Torres’ time at Stamford Bridge was average at best.

On 68 minutes, a scrappy finish from Frank Lampard brought a brief belief that Chelsea could get something out of this game. Carlo Ancelotti’s men were urged forward in search of an equaliser and a chance to stay in the title race. Edwin Van der Sar was not to be beaten for a second time and proved a calming influence behind a sturdy home defence.

The final whistle blew, meaning United were now six points clear with only two games to play. Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool were to be dispatched. The title was to be won, ending Liverpool’s long reign over United in the league. Sir Alex Ferguson had arrived with United on a paltry seven league championships compared to Liverpool’s 18. He declared that he would not rest until he had knocked the Merseysiders off their perch. The man from Glasgow had stuck to his word. This was well and truly a job done.

Manchester United:

Van der Sar, Ferdinand, Fabio, Valencia, Vidic, O’Shea, Carrick, Ji- Sung, Giggs, Hernandez, Rooney

Subs: Smalling, Evans, Kuszczak, Anderson, Nani, Berbatov, Scholes

Chelsea:

Cech, Terry, Cole, Ivanovic, Luiz, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Malouda, Kalou, Drogba

Subs: Ramires, Alex, Torres, Benayoun, Turnbull, Anelka

About the Author

John McNicoll
Southern Red and Football enthusiast.