Glory Days: How United won the 2007/08 title

Monday 11 May 2020 11:00

Continuing the series marking days we celebrated, today it’s the moment when we sealed our 17th top-flight title…

Having halted the Chelsea juggernaut in 2006/07, Sir Alex Ferguson moved swiftly to keep his side ahead of the Blues by bringing in Anderson, Nani and Owen Hargreaves well in advance of the new season.

They would be followed by Carlos Tevez, who arrived on a two-year loan deal after much speculation and wrangling, and the Argentinian bolstered an attacking department rendered threadbare in the opening weeks of the campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer announced his retirement, Wayne Rooney joined Louis Saha in the treatment room and Cristiano Ronaldo earned a three-match ban for 'headbutting' Richard Hughes in the second game of the campaign at Portsmouth.

A 1-1 draw at Fratton Park represented half of the Reds' points total after three games of the season, and Paul Scholes' belter was the only entry in the 'Goals Scored' column.

Cristiano Ronaldo's free kick against Portsmouth was one of many magic moments from the 2007/08 campaign.

The irony of that shot-shy start to the campaign would emerge over the following months, and it took a fine strike from Nani to secure United's first league win of the season, at Tottenham's expense.

Seven straight wins followed, with Chelsea – now minus Jose Mourinho – the most notable scalp taken as the attacking wiles of Tevez, Ronaldo and Rooney combined to terrorise the Premier League defences.

Title-chasing Arsenal would also have succumbed, but for William Gallas's injury-time equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates. Draws were rarely on the agenda, however: another dozen games passed without a tie, with United winning 10 (most emphatically in the 6-0 dismantling of Newcastle at Old Trafford) and slipping to two narrow away defeats (0-1 at Bolton and 2-1 at West Ham).

Tevez's last-gasp equaliser at Tottenham in February was viewed as an invaluable point, but Rooney's caution in the same game ruled him out of the looming visit of Manchester City, a match backdropped by the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.

United struggled to muster a performance to fit the poignant occasion, while Sven-Goran Eriksson's Blues turned in their display of the season to complete the double over the Reds and allow Arsenal to build a five-point lead at the head of the table by mid-February.

However, the Gunners collapsed after an FA Cup defeat to the Reds, and didn’t win again until late March, while United – powered by Ronaldo's goals – made a sprint for the line. So, too, did Chelsea, who moved into second spot by beating Arsenal on the same day that the Reds crushed 10-man Liverpool 3-0 at Old Trafford.

Watch highlights of United's 3-0 victory against 10-man Liverpool from March 2008.

As both title-chasing sides edged along a collision course at home and in Europe, the Blues drew level on points at the top by beating United at Stamford Bridge with two games remaining.

Sir Alex Ferguson had rotated his side to ride the rigours of beating Barcelona in Europe, but fielded his strongest XI for the final games of the Reds' title defence: a 4-1 thumping of West Ham and a nerve-shredding final day victory at Wigan.

A first-half Ronaldo penalty gave Sir Alex's men the advantage, but it was not until 10 minutes from time that the game was made safe – Ryan Giggs producing a calm finish to land title number 17. Chelsea's home draw with Bolton made it a two-point winning margin for the Reds.

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