Following RoM’s best and worst signings of the decade, we will now take a look at some of the best goals we’ve scored over the past ten years, as well as some of the most painful goals scored against us.
It’s important to note that in the past ten years we’ve won seven league titles, two European Cups, two FA Cups and two League Cups, so we would be here all day if we were to name every great goal, so these are the ones that stood out for me, and I welcome any Youtube links for any other videos you think deserve a mention (as I have struggled to find older goals).
Date: March 22nd 2003 vs Fulham
Context: Ruud van Nistelrooy’s hattrick against Fulham sent United top of the table for the first time in a year, with just seven games left to play. It was his fourth hattrick for United and his 32nd goal of the season, on the way to United scooping another title. It was his second goal that was really special and probably the best goal he ever scored for us.
Date: October 24th 2004 vs Arsenal
Context: You could see the newspaper headlines and DVD titles already, all revolving around Arsenal going 50 games unbeaten after playing United at Old Trafford. This was an achievement that some crazy people were likening to our Treble and whilst they’d failed to beat us during this run, and had even lost to us in the FA Cup, it was down to us to put a stop to the madness. And we did. Ruud van Nistelrooy exorcised his demons from the penalty miss against them the season before, but Rooney made it 2-0. As a point of interest, Arsenal had just one attempt on target all game.
Date: April 24th 2005 vs Newcastle
Context: We were a few weeks away from the end of the most depressing season we’d had for some time and went a goal down against a poor Newcastle side. They’d only had one attack, if you can call it that, with Tim Howard just clearing the ball straight to them. With half an hour left to go and still 1-0 down, Wayne Rooney started limping. Things were just going from bad to worse. But then, as he was chewing the ref’s ear off, the defender cleared the ball in his direction. He ran to it and struck it absolutely perfectly. Probably my favourite goal I’ve ever witnessed at Old Trafford. United went on to win 2-1.
Date: November 6th 2005 vs Chelsea
Context: United got thrashed 4-1 by Middlesbrough at the weekend then during the week lost 1-0 to Lille in the Champions League. So what better time for us to play current champions, Chelsea? So what if it was probably an accident, Darren Fletcher’s winning goal was the first occasion in a long time that we really had something to celebrate. The days of being the underdog weren’t always dreadful.
Date: January 22nd 2006 vs Liverpool
Context: In the days when the title was Chelsea’s, we were competing with Liverpool for second place. Taking them on at Old Trafford, we were losing that competition, with our opponent’s putting in the better performance. However, when Cisse missed pretty much an open net, you had to wonder whether it was going to be our day. Ryan Giggs whipped in a great ball which Rio Ferdinand powered in to the back of the net. Insane celebrations follow and United move four points ahead of them.
Date: February 24th 2007 vs Fulham
Context: Despite leading the table from the start of the season, insecurities of the poor previous seasons were still being felt in 06-07. Chelsea had been like a machine for a couple of years and we couldn’t quite believe we weren’t going to fuck up the title somehow, with Mourinho’s men more than happy to pinch it from us. The turning point in confidence, for me at least, was when United managed to go from 1-0 to winning 2-1, thanks to an 88th minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. We moved 9 points clear at the top of the table. One week later, John O’Shea scored that goal against Liverpool.
Date: April 29th 2008 vs Barcelona
Context: After drawing 0-0 at the Nou Camp, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing an early penalty, the pressure was really on for the second leg of the European Cup. Scholesy has scored some great goals in his time but none more important than this, with a sublime strike which booked our place in the European Cup final, nine years after he missed one through suspension.
Date: September 20th 2009 vs City
Context: This was the first meeting between the local rivals since City had really flexed their financial muscle as The Richest Club in the World. It was also the return of Carlos Tevez, who had claimed his feelings for United were so strong that he wouldn’t even consider an offer from hated rivals Liverpool… but somehow overcame those strong feelings for United to sign an £160k a week contract with City! After dominating the game, United made three errors at the back and City scored from every single one, the last of which occurring in the 89th minute, taking the score to 3-3. Then deep in to injury time, substitute Michael Owen popped up to score the winner in what will be remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, derby day ever.
Date: May 8th 2002 vs Arsenal
Context: Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford knowing that victory would crown them champions after we had won the league for the past three years on the trot. With just less than an hour played, Sylvain Wiltord scored the only goal of the game, and their irritating chant was born.
Date: May 19th 2007 vs Chelsea
Context: United had won the league a couple of weeks earlier and our reserves received the guard of honour from the Chelsea first team at Stamford Bridge. We approached the FA Cup final in party mode at the first Cup final in the new Wembley stadium. The game was absolutely dreadful, two teams totally knackered from a long season which saw them battling for the league and reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Normal time finished at 0-0 but four minutes from the end of extra time and the start of penalties, Didier Drogba scored. Having seen how absolutely exhausted our players were, there was no hope of a late equaliser, and our “chin up Mourinho” chants didn’t sound too clever any more.
Date: April 26th 2008 vs Chelsea
Context: United travelled to Stamford Bridge knowing that a win would all but seal the league title and a defeat would blow the race wide open, with two games to play. The second leg of the European Cup semi-final was three days later, with both clubs wanting to prepare themselves properly for the Champions League, as well as keeping themselves in the title race. Chelsea took the lead on the stroke of half time, before Wayne Rooney equalised with an hour played. But with four minutes to go, Chelsea were awarded a penalty, which they scored, putting them level with us on points, with an inferior goal difference. Less than a month until the end of the season and we were painfully close to winning the Double and had Ballack not scored the penalty, we would have been even closer.