United concluded the premier league season with the visit of relegation strugglers Blackpool, who needed at least a point if they were to maintain their league status against a United side who had only dropped 2 points at home all season. With the title in the bag, and one eye on the champions league final next saturday, a relatively weakened United side took to the field, albeit with arguably United’s best performers in Dimitar Berbatov and Nani starting. Having played out a 3-2 classic in the return fixture in January, goals were always on the cards with Blackpool’s frail defence but willingness to attack as the reds looked to put on a show for their coronation.
In typical fashion, Blackpool nearly got the dream start to the game, as Charlie Adam broke down the left hand side within the first minute, cutting the ball back to Luke Southern who horribly scuffed his shot wide, giving United a real early wake up call. However United were unperturbed and quickly settled into their rhythm, with Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher dominating the midfield. It was the Scot who has missed much of the run in through illness, who started the move for United’s opener, as his piercing long ball found Berbatov, who slipped in Ji Sung Park with an inch perfect pass, which the Korean winger lifted over the keeper to give United a deserved lead. Park was unlucky to not be awarded a penalty on the half hour mark, as he was first to the ball in the penalty area before being felled from behind, only for the ref to wave away appeals. Blackpool however kept on plugging away, and were rewarded on the stroke of half time as Charlie Adam beat Edwin Van Der Sar with a superbly placed free kick to bring the sea siders level.
As things stood, Blackpool were safe given the other scores around, however with a long 45 minutes ahead, it was unlikely things were to stay the same. In fact, it was Blackpool who stunned United on 55 minutes, as they took the lead through Gary Taylor Fletcher’s sublime flick to the far post after a clever passing move. Again though, Blackpool’s defensive frailties let them down, as Untied hit back immediately via some good work by Park down the left, the Korean cut back to Anderson who unleashed a superb curling shot into the top corner, leaving Matt Gilks in goal helpless. With United now looking to end the season in style, the writing was on the wall for a leggy Blackpool side, who despite their gallant effort looked to be heading into the championship. This was all but confirmed 20 minutes from time, as Nani’s cross from the right was catastrophically diverted into his own goal by Ian Evatt, giving United the lead for the second time in the match. And the reds finished with some style, as Anderson’s perfectly weighted through ball found substitute Michael Owen, who made absolutely no mistake in calmly finishing past Gilks to give United a deserved victory.
With the side show of the day over, the main event of the trophy presentation could begin, as United lifted their record 19th title in front of a sun soaked Old Trafford. For United fans, it has become very familiar to watch United parade the Premier League trophy around Old Trafford, yet the feeling of satisfaction never waves, and the desire for further success burns even greater. This United side have been far from vintage on the road, but our home performances this season have been simply magnificent, dropping only 2 points to West Brom and in a season that has proved to be extremely competitive, this has ultimately been the telling factor. However, as is always the case with a club like United, there is little time to bask in glory, and with the champions league final ahead, there is little time to revel in our title success before attempting to become champions of Europe for the 4th time. United go into the final as underdogs, but as United fans have learnt numerous times down the years, never write off an Alex Ferguson team, especially one who has a point to prove.
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