To be quite honest, when I scanned over each of Manchester United's 53 matches in all competitions this season, it was a bit depressing how few stood out as a dramatic accomplishment. From my perspective, there were many more heartbreaking ones (*). A few of the 5-0 victories were relatively joyless when looking back on them months later. Anyway, the third of the voting for TBB's community awards (Vote for Player of the Season here and Young Player of the Season here) is here and it's simply an ask on what your MUFC match of the season was. I would assume that one will probably be the obvious winner but you know what they say when one assumes...
* I'm a glutton for punishment -- perhaps I should offer up a sadistic 'most soul-crushing defeat of the season' award!
To each their own though as we all get different degrees of pleasure or disappointment by any single event. So rather than assume like a dictator would, I'll leave it up to a democratic process -- voting! I'll ban you though if you don't agree with my choice. Just kidding... maybe. Here are the four nominees in chronological order. Have at it -- after the jump...
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal | August 28, 2011 | Premier League
This was fun. More was supposed to follow. It sort of did. But not really.
It all started with a delightful scoop-pass from Anderson into the box for a Danny Welbeck headed-goal and it ended with Ashley Young's 2nd curling beauty. In between, there were six other United goals and two Arsenal goals in this incredibly open affair. It was hilariously embarrassing for an Arsenal side that was reeling after a horrendous summer transfer window and it was brutally brilliant from a United side that was optimistically hopeful that a domestic and continental double was possible. It was an incredible performance but glory did not follow after that wonderful August day. It's still a tremendous memory though.
Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United | January 8, 2012 | FA Cup
We were humbled soon after the 8-2 defeat of Arsenal when the 'noisy neighbours' came to Old Trafford and ripped us apart 1-6. This FA Cup tie was a bit of revenge and it restored the confidence in the squad after two successive league losses and after trailing in the title race since October. It also saw the brilliant and unexpected return of Paul Scholes.
Sir Alex Ferguson learned his lesson from the first encounter as he decided to keep it tight versus City's predictable, but lethal attack while looking to exploit a vulnerability of theirs -- defending against the counterattack. In the 10th minute, Wayne Rooney put us ahead with a superb header from a superb Antonio Valencia cross. Soon after, like a minute or two later, City captain Vincent Kompany was sent off for a rash challenge and United took advantage by going up 0-3 at the Etihad. City manager Roberto Mancini made a brilliant adjustment at half-time as he put his 10-man side in a 3-4-1-1 shape for the second-half. United were conservative and City were lively but ultimately, the red side of Manchester prevailed. I wholeheartedly believe that day rejuvenated our side on many levels.
Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United | February 5, 2011 | Premier League
We were rubbish. Chelsea ruthlessly made us pay. We were getting hammered 0-3 at Stamford Bridge. 12th man Howard Webb (sarcasm) then gave us a lifeline and Wazza gave us hope by making it 2-3 by converting twice from the spot. Then, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) did what he does best by scoring a substitute's goal -- and equaliser -- in the 84th minute and the Blues were shell-shocked. An improbable comeback and a point was rescued. Or so it seemed.
Then in stoppage time -- Juan Mata stepped up to a free-kick and the brilliant Spaniard sent a destined winner to the upper 90 -- only to be denied by his fellow countryman David de Gea. The save of United's season.
de Gea was brilliant from this moment on and despite us not ultimately winning the title, this could be the single moment that propels the talented goalkeeper to a brilliant career at United. His talent was always obvious but his vulnerabilities allowed doubt to linger for so many. Hopefully that moment lingers for many -- including de Gea -- as an inspiration for belief in our 21-year-old No. 1. I'm very convinced we have a world-class goalkeeper in the making.
Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool | February 11, 2012 | Premier League
When it comes to football, I'm the sort of detailed-obsessive nerd that remembers the wrong angle and footsteps that Michael Essien took when Cristiano Ronaldo beat him for our opening goal in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final in Moscow. The risk of deploying the great Chelsea midfielder at right-back and his obvious uncomfortableness of that moment will never escape my mind -- until dementia sets in someday. Point being...
What do I remember about this match? Very little. I remember Luis Suarez struggling (******-******, ****-******, etc) and I remember Patrice Evra's release at the end of the match. Yeah, Patrice was criticized but the commercialism of football makes it even more difficult these days to relate to our heroes. Perhaps it wasn't the right thing to do, but I felt empathy. I felt emotional and I felt a connection with our vice-captain. It was disgusting how Liverpool tried to take a victim complex.