After finishing 2006/07 on a high – with a beautifully-taken, final goal in a memorable Goodison Park comeback that catapulted United to within touching distance of the title – Chris Eagles must have been hoping for more of the same last season.
He certainly started the campaign very much in the frame. Having impressed in the Far East on pre-season tour (with goals in two of United’s four games), he came off the bench to join the fray in three of the Reds’ first four Barclays Premier League matches.
Those performances earned him the nod from Sir Alex Ferguson to start the game at Old Trafford against Sunderland at the beginning of September. That, however, was about as good as it got.
The immediate impact of United’s new attacking signings – most notably Carlos Tevez – combined with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo (from suspension) and then Wayne Rooney (from injury) made opportunities up front hard to come by.
The return to fitness of Louis Saha simply compounded Eagles’ frustrations.