Marouane Fellaini's late winner that sealed qualification for the Champions League knockout stages has added to this season’s list of dramatic moments that keep us coming back for more. Here are eight adrenaline-pumping moments from the campaign so far…
What a wait… but what a moment! Our no.23 had never netted as a pro in six seasons and over 100 games, so when he flicked the ball over Ricardo Pereira (intentionally, of course!) late in the season-opener v Leicester and nipped round the defender for a sight of goal, Old Trafford collectively gasped in split-second suspense. On the left peg, on the angle… on the scoresheet!
All the Angles: Shaw's first United goalVideo
A net-bursting volley blasted home is always a high-octane moment. When it comes on the swivel, left-footed – from a centre-back – it has that extra ‘what have I just seen?’ frisson. Chris’s striker-like effort against Watford in September was a corker – and one from Jose Mourinho’s training ground playbook, too.
3: TWENTY MANIC MINUTES
It would take some serious warrior spirit if we were going to fight back against Newcastle at Old Trafford in early October, two-nil down as we were with only 20 minutes to play. Cue a classic United cavalry charge, with each goal ratcheting up the heart-rate yet further. Juan Mata sparked the kindling with a wizardly free-kick, Anthony Martial fired in the equaliser and then Alexis Sanchez headed the roof-raising third. Electric.
Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 2 Video
Stamford Bridge has scarce been a happy hunting ground in recent times, and at one-nil down in the second half, odds on a positive return from West London seemed stacked against the Reds. Anthony Martial, though, had other ideas – first lashing home a leveller from close-range, then whipping a second into the bottom corner from one of his favourite goalscoring spots to send pulses soaring. (Ross Barkley’s equaliser probably features in Chelsea’s version of this feature!)
Highlights: Chelsea 2 United 2Video
Eddie Howe’s impressive Bournemouth looked set to take a share of the points on the south coast as the final seconds of our November encounter ebbed away. One especially miraculous escape involving the crossbar, a desperate block and a goal-line clearance in quick succession had seemed to suggest that any United effort to find a winner would not be rewarded. In the dying moments, though – those familiar frayed seconds of clung-to hope – Marcus Rashford scrambled a close-range goal to send the away end barmy.
6: JUVE GOT TO BE KIDDING
Whatever heights of breathlessness had been reached thus far in 2018/19, five minutes in Turin topped the lot. Having defended manfully and rode a bit of luck to keep Ronaldo and co at only 1-0, the Reds effected a late smash-and-grab not seen in Europe since May 1999. Juan Mata was the dead-ball genius to provide ‘Wow!’ moment number one, curling in a sublime effort. Alex Sandro was then the United hero/Juve fall guy as he got the last touch on Ashley’s Young’s mischief-laden free-kick. Adrenaline through the roof!
Highlights: Bournemouth 1 United 2Video
Highlights: Juventus 1 United 2Video
Split-seconds of drama don’t only happen at one end. David De Gea provides them on a regular basis, and his save against Young Boys was the work of an illusionist in goalkeeper gloves. That ‘We’ve just conceded’ downer became a ‘No we haven’t!’ high within the blink of an eye, as our resident escapologist clawed what looked a certain goal off the line with an impossible-looking lunge and paw. Rollercoaster moments for the emotions!
De Gea's wonder save against Young BoysVideo
Highlights: United 1 Young Boys 0Video
8: ONE FELL SWOOP
De Gea’s act of mirage set the stage for an almighty adrenaline-rush at the other end, courtesy of Marouane Fellaini. The cause of victory looked lost as the battling Swiss, who had manned the barricades with honour for 90-plus minutes, looked like prising a point off the Old Trafford turf to take home as a memorable souvenir. But one final foray into the box came good when the big man controlled, turned and banged a shot into the far corner. Bedlam.
The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.