Match Rewind: vote for the best individual genius
We know weekends without football are a bit rubbish.
Live sport has taken a back seat during this tough time, but through our Match Rewind series we’re doing our best to keep your entertained, via the medium of classic Manchester United games.
Every other day, we’re allowing you to choose which encounters we stream on our website and Official App, and our theme for this edition is individual genius.
Although football is a team game, throughout our history seasons have often turned and records tumbled through the sheer talent or will of a single player. It’s these moments we’re celebrating in our latest poll.
Without further ado, here are our four nominees…
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER V NOTTINGHAM FOREST (1998/99)
When the Norwegian came off the bench with less than 20 minutes to play, United were coasting to an impressive, but fairly routine, 4-1 victory over bottom-of-the-table Forest. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole had netted braces and, at the end of an afternoon seeing his fellow forwards make hay, Solskjaer wanted in on the action. His tap-in at the far post from Gary Neville’s cross made it five and launched one of the most devastating individual displays in top-flight history. Veteran goalkeeper Dave Beasant was culpable for the forward’s second, scored on 88 minutes, but could do little about numbers three and four, both netted in injury-time to give United a record Premier League away win. Although that landmark has now fallen, Ole is still the only substitute to net four times in a match.
FEDERICO MACHEDA V ASTON VILLA (2008/09)
Has a 17-year-old debutant ever made such an impact? Macheda was thrown into the fray by Sir Alex Ferguson with an hour gone and the Reds trailing 2-1 to Villa in a must-win game in the Premier League title race. Although Cristiano Ronaldo soon restored parity, United fans were mentally preparing themselves to cede top spot – and the momentum – to Liverpool. Enter the Roman. After a relatively quiet half an hour, the teenager received Ryan Giggs’s measured pass on the edge of the area and swivelled before unleashing an inch-perfect curler into the bottom right-hand corner. As the Italian was mobbed by his team-mates, the clock read 92:08. Seconds later, the whistle blew and United were back at the top. It was an advantage we would maintain over the nailbiting six weeks to follow.
DAVID DE GEA V ARSENAL (2017/18)
Goalkeepers are often the unsung heroes, but there was no shortage of plaudits and superlatives among supporters and journalists alike after this otherworldly showing by David at the Emirates in December 2017. The Gunners were unbeaten at home in almost a year, but that record looked under threat when goals from Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard had us two goals up within 11 minutes. The scoreline remained the same at half-time, thanks to a combination of De Gea’s brilliance and the woodwork, but Alexandre Lacazette halved the arrears soon after the interval, prompting a further Arsenal barrage. There then followed an incredible double save from the Spaniard as he denied the goalscorer and Alexis Sanchez within seconds of each other. Lingard would go on to score again, but United were indebted to one man only for our 3-1 success – De Gea’s 14 saves levelled the record for a Premier League fixture.
MARCUS RASHFORD V LIVERPOOL (2017/18)
United came into this grudge match at Old Trafford second but just two points ahead of the resurgent Merseysiders, who had been buoyed by the January addition of Virgil van Dijk, the world’s most expensive defender. Marcus Rashford made his first league start since Boxing Day and, aided by the physical prowess of Romelu Lukaku, quickly set about giving the Dutchman and his partner Dejan Lovren a torrid opening half an hour. The homegrown talent latched on to Lukaku’s flick-on before dispatching beyond Loris Karius and repeated the trick 10 minutes later, after van Dijk had failed to clear. Eric Bailly’s own goal midway through the second half made the closing stages nervy for Jose Mourinho’s men, but Rashford’s early salvo was enough to secure the win over our arch-rivals.
HOW TO VOTE
You can select which of the four players above you want to see at their finest by voting in our Match Rewind live blog.
The vote closes at 16:00 BST on Saturday and we’ll show the winning game in full, and for free, on the Official App and ManUtd.com at 19:00 BST, later that evening.
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