Manchester United hosted Blackburn Rovers knowing they could not afford to slip up in the Premier League title race.
Manchester United 4 Blackburn 1
A seems like a long time ago when a Manchester United side was last involved in a title race, but that was the case this day in 2007 when he Red Devils welcomed Blackburn Rovers to Old Trafford. United were full of confidence having won six games in a row and had been at the top of the Premier League table all season apart from a two-round spell in late September.
But the game didn’t begin well for the reigning champions. On 28 minutes Nemanja Vidic injured himself badly after falling awkwardly challenging for a header at a corner and had to be substituted for John O’Shea. United barely had time to settle before Matt Derbyshire gave Blackburn the lead with a close-range strike.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men eventually started to put pressure on Brad Fiedel’s goal but the USA hero somehow managed to protect Rovers’ advantage. The visitors eventually succumbed when Paul Scholes wriggled into space in the box and drove in a shot. Michael Carrick put United ahead and Park Ji-Sung added a third with an effort from point-blank range.
Norwegian striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lived up to his reputation as a super sub by coming off the bench to score United’s fourth and final goal of the game.
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Heinze, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Park, Giggs, Rooney.
Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Dunn, Tugay, Mokoena, Pedersen, Derbyshire, McCarthy.
What they said
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
“The intensity of our game was fantastic but so was the support – that put us over the line.
“The players were all talking about it in the dressing room – they couldn’t believe the volume of noise.
“The great thing we showed was the composure to not lose our heads, keep our nerve and keep on playing and by doing that we kept on making chances.”
Blackburn manager Mark Hughes:
“United will not be denied now, I think they will win the title comfortably.
“For 60 minutes we were really in the game. The crowd were anxious and I felt we were going to capitalise on it.
“But they were able to galvanise themselves and show why they are champions-elect. This year, they have played the best football.”