|Manchester United - Barclays English Premier League 2010/2011 Champion|
Competition: Premier League
Kick-Off & Date: 4pm, Sunday, 22nd May 2011
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester (Home)
Manchester United lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy on Sunday, after beating Blackpool 4-2 at Old Trafford. The Red Devils relegated The Tangerines in the process, but it's fair to say United supporters turned a blind eye among the jubilant celebrations at The Theatre Of Dreams. Ji-Sung Park had opened the scoring, before Oliveira Anderson, an own goal from Ian Evatt and Michael Owen all did their part after B'Pool temporarily led 2-1...
Sir Alex Ferguson rested key players ahead of the upcoming UEFA Champions League Final against Barcelona. Edwin Van Der Sar led the team out as captain for his last game in front of the Old Trafford crowd. Rafael Da Silva and Patrice Evra patrolled the flanks, while Nemanja Vidic was paired with Jonny Evans in defence. Paul Scholes and Oliveira Anderson started in midfield, while Ji-Sung Park, Dimitar Berbatov and Luis Nani were up-front.
Blackpool looked the more dangerous, and Keith Southern should have had Ian Holloway's men a goal to the good after Charlie Adam gained possesion and whipped in a tasty cross. Matthew Gilks was forced into a save after a tremendous volley from Rafael on the edge of the box, and it would have been a goal to remember. Dimitar Berbatov turned on the style - but after his effort failed - the Bulgarian set-up Park to open the scoring on 21 minutes.
Berba took two touches after Darren Fletcher's pin-point up-field ball. The Bulgarian strike guided the ball to Park, who chipped over the Blackpool keeper from close range after holding off Ian Evatt's challenge. United were looking settled, and the statistics up until Park's goal showed that the home side were enjoying more than 70% possesion. The goal brings to 8 that the South Korean hitman has scored this campaign, showing how crucial a player he is.
Berbatov came close for The Red Devils, but Gilks held strong. Adam then attempted to catch Van Der Sar off-guard, but there was no such luck for the 25-year-old midfielder as his lobbed effort flew well over the bar. Adam proceeded to lunge-in on Park inside the area, but the clear-cut penalty was not given by referee Mike Dean... Another example how poor the standard of officiating is among The FA.
Ref. Dean made a farce of a later incident - awarding a free-kick to Blackpool when Vidic' alleged foul had been committed on Gary Taylor-Fletcher - who had already been flagged offside by the linesman. Despite seeing this, the referee allowed Charlie Adam set-up an take the disputed free. He scored. The Tangerine Army were now back in the game, thanks to a wonderfully executed dipping shot, which crossed the line after hitting the upright.
Adam will be proud of his achievement: Becoming the first Premier League footballer to score at Old Trafford in the first half of any match this season, and also since April 2010. Sir Alex Ferguson was livid with the referee's decision to award the foul - but supporters were still in good spirits - safe in the knowledge that even if Ian Holloway's side won the game, the Barclays Premier League trophy would still be ours.
Chris Smalling replaced Rafael Da Silva after the break, as Adam tried his luck again from a free. This time Van Der Sar stopped his attempt to get B'Pool in front. Berbatov - unmarked - rued a massive opening, after he headed over the bar when Nani floated in a delicious cross. Carlos Tevez hadn't scored for Manchester City in their game against Bolton Wanderers, and so the Bulgarian remained joint-top-goalscorer in the League.
Before the hour mark, the impossible had happened. Blackpool were well above the drop zone as Gary Taylor-Fletcher knocked the ball past Van Der Sar. David Vaughan sped forward, playing a one-two with Jason Puncheon before passing into the box for Taylor-Fletcher to flick the ball past VDS, onto the post, and across the line. Twice had the woodwork come to Blackpool's aid, but United were having none of it - they didn't want to lose !
lackpool were in dreamland, but the hosts set about responding. They did just that, as after 5 minutes, United were back level. Anderson passed the ball out wide to Park, who returned the favour with a ball towards Ando - waiting inside the box - placing the ball in the far top corner. What a way to score your first Premier League goal at Old Trafford, eh ?... A sign of more things to come from the talented Brazilian midfielder, SAF will be thinking.
Park was replaced by Michael Owen, vying to pick-up his first-ever Premier League Champions medal. United turned up the heat even further on relegation-threatened Blackpool, as Berbatov forced a world-class save from Gilks. Scholes ensuing strike was defended, before Nani headed horribly wide in a gift of a position.
Minutes later, and The Reds were still in the opposition half. Smalling executed a low cross into the box, only for Ian Evatt to deflect the ball into the back of his own net when attempting a left-footed clearance. Ouch !... Holloway's side were now down for the count. It dawned on the noisy away fans that Blackpool were going to be playing Championship football next season, along with Birmingham City and West Ham United.
There was still time left for Brett Ormerod to make his mark, but he couldn't get his volley on target. Michael Owen then raced free thanks to a clever ball from Anderson, scoring his 14th Manchester United career goal before picking-up a well deserved Premier League winners medal. Ormerod gave Blackpool fans one last thing to shout about, as he smacked the top of the crossbar. And that was that, referee Mike Dean blew the whistle, OT erupted.
For the 19th time in English domestic league football, Manchester United are Champions. Chief Sir Alex Ferguson and stalwart Ryan Giggs collect their 12th Premier League title, as The Red Devils move one title ahead of Liverpool as the most successful club in England. Considering the Barclays Premier League is the toughest domestic competition in the world, United really are sitting pretty on top of their perch. Take a bow lads, well done !