Manchester United’s season is almost over, with the simple matter of negotiating a Europa League final after a recent run of disjointed performances against a young, hungry attacking Ajax team. There’s still a chance for José Mourinho’s first season to end in either in an acceptable level of success or an unquestionable failure.
Fittingly for an up and down season, our writers have selected their personal highlights and lowlights from United’s 2016-17 campaign. Here is the first installment of our end of season awards, The Busbys.
Highlight of the Season
Brent Maximin: The two seconds immediately preceding Zlatan Ibrahimović’s late winner in the League Cup final. The goal was a great moment: Mourinho’s first trophy at United, a late winner, and a big player delivering in a big moment. But it was the moments that the cross floating in the air that are truly memorable. You just knew it was going in. After three seasons of having the old belief slowly drained out of us, this was a throwback to the days of when we always expected United to score. Watch the video and you can hear the Reds in the crowd start celebrating before the ball even touches Zlatan’s head.
Andi Thomas: Ander Herrera's pass to Marcus Rashford. The thing bit like a leg break.
Jack Sargeant: José Mourinho celebrating after United clinched their place in the Europa League final.
Lowlight of the Season
BM: The countless, never-ending, constant, non-stop, innumerable, legion of missed chances. Christ Almighty. Trying to find video evidence of the worst one was an act of self-flagellation.
AT: In a funny sort of way, the smear of 0-0 and 1-1 draws that defined this season have, when taken together, felt much worse than any of the losses. Even the going over at Chelsea. It's the simultaneity of the frustration: this is both a team that is extremely close to being actually good, and a team that is extremely close to being unwatchably boring. And that's not a good combination.
JS: It’s the obvious choice, but the 4-0 thrashing away at Chelsea. Its immediate aftermath – characterised by an overwhelming feeling of ‘not again’ – was the only time that I seriously doubted José Mourinho’s appointment. In the event, it proved the dark before the dawn, but at the time, it threatened to precipitate full-blown crisis.
Agree with our picks? What are your choices for this season’s highs and lows? Let us know in the comments.