By Mark Young.
Read Manchester United 2010-11 Season Review here
It was a relatively quiet summer at Old Trafford in terms of incoming players. Unknown Javier Hernandez signed before the World Cup from Guadalajara for £6 million. He joined Chris Smalling from Fulham in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. There was to be one final signing from Portugal in August as Bebe signed from Guimares. It was hard to tell how the season would go for United with Wayne Rooney out of sorts and another summer without a marquee signing left Man United fans wondering how they would get their Premier League trophy back from their rivals at Stamford Bridge.
(PL) Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle United
(PL) Fulham 2-2 United
(PL) United 3-0 West Ham
August started with the curtain raising Community Shield at Wembley against title holders Chelsea. United dominated the game and came out 3-1 victors to gain a slight advantage over the Blues. Antonio Valencia opened the scoring at Wembley before Javier Hernandez scored his first goal for the club with the last touch hitting him in the face. The final goal was scored by United’s top pre season performer, Dimitar Berbatov who, with Rooney injured and out of sorts would become the focal point for the reds for the opening of the season.
United opened the season with a convincing victory against newly promoted Newcastle United at Old Trafford. Berbatov started where he left off by opening the scoring. Fletcher doubled the lead just before half time before Ryan Giggs wrapped things up with a third goal before the final whistle to give United a well timed early season boost.
The next date in the United diary was the first away trip of the season at Craven Cottage. Fulham are somewhat of a bogey team in recent years but United looked to have done enough after taking the lead twice. Once through Paul Scholes and a Brede Hangelaand own goal. A Simon Davies goal was sandwiched in between. United were then awarded a penalty which Nani missed and this proved to be costly as Hangelaand made up for his earlier arrears to gain the Cottagers a point. This game would eventually go on to sum up the Red Devils’ away form over the coming nine months.
The month of August was eventually rounded off by a convincing 3-0 victory at Old Trafford against West Ham United. Wayne Rooney played and converted a penalty to put United 1-0 up at the break. Nani struck past Rob Green for his first goal of the season before Berbatov added his second goal of the month to send United into September in confident spirits.
(PL) Everton 3-3 United
(UCL) United 0-0 Rangers
(PL) United 3-2 Liverpool
(CC) Scunthorpe 2-5 United
(PL) Bolton 2-2 United
(UCL) Valencia 0-1 United
September started with one of the games of the season. United travelled to Goodison Park to face Rooney’s ex club but he was left out on this occasion as Berbatov continued his goal scoring form by adding to Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic’s goals. Pienaar had opened the scoring but the reply from United was emphatic. But what Everton had in store for the comfortable United was even more impressive. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta scored in the 91st and 92nd minutes to earn the Toffees an unlikely point. United threw away another lead away from home.
United kicked off their Champions League campaign at home to Glasgow Rangers but both teams played out a goal less draw. The game will unfortunately be remembered for the horrific leg break injury to Antonio Valencia which would keep him out for most of the season.
This was not ideal preparation as Liverpool were in town the Sunday after. This game will be remembered for something more positive. A Dimitar Berbatov double put the Red Devils in front against Liverpool, whose record titles they would overtake with topping the table this season. A Steven Gerrard double cancelled that Berbatov brace out before a moment of pure magic from the Bulgarian gave United the three points. An over head kick in front of the Stretford past Pepe Reina blew the roof off of Old Trafford and Fergie’s men went marching on.
They followed that performance up by smashing Scunthorpe 5-2 in the Carling Cup where Chris Smalling was on the score sheet for the first time in United colours. The Red Devils again struggled away from home as they played out a 2-2 draw with Bolton at the Reebok. Nani scored one of the goals of the season with a run from the half way line and finish to match the magnificent run.
United’s final game of September was away to Valencia in the Champions League. Valencia were held by a resilient United before Hernandez scored a late winner as he started to show promise of the type of exciting player the United fans had expected.
(PL) Sunderland 0-0 United
(PL) United 2-2 West Brom
(UCL) United 1-0 Bursaspor
(PL) Stoke 1-2 United
(CC) United 3-2 Wolves
(PL) United 2-0 Spurs
October started with two straight draws for United who played out a lack lustre draw at the Stadium of Light before dropping their first points of the season at Old Trafford, at home to West Brom after an uncharacteristic mistake from Edwin Van der Sar. Tchoyi managed to draw the Baggies level after United had let a two goal lead slip.
Bursaspor were next for United but were comfortably dispatched after Nani scored a seventh minute goal and the defence kept the plucky Turks at bay.
The Britannia was next up for United who had Hernandez starting in attack. Still looking for their first win away from home and first league win of the month United needed something special and they got it from The Little Pea. His brilliant backwards header opened the scoring before Tuncay equalised. He then got himself in the right place at the right time to send United home with the victory.
Chicharito proved vital again with a last minute winner as United dispatched of Wolves from the Carling Cup in a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Trafford but United seemed to be shipping goals a bit too easily.
This changed in the final home game of October against the Champions League surprise package Tottenham. United ran out 2-0 winners but that only proved to be half the story. Vidic had opened the scoring and Nani doubled that lead through the most bizarre circumstanced. Error prone Huerelho Gomes thought he had been given a free kick by referee Mark Clattenburg and placed the ball on the floor. The free kick had not been given and before the Brazilian could blink Nani had robbed the ball from him and placed it into the net. Tottenham were angry, United were confused but delirious.
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