Glory Days: The 2010/11 Premier League title
On this day in 2011, Manchester United secured our 19th top-flight title, placing us one ahead of rivals Liverpool in the all-time standings. Here’s the story of how it happened…
Deposed by Chelsea in 2009/10, the Reds started the season as challengers, rather than champions, for the first time in three years.
Sir Alex Ferguson reinforced his squad while also eyeing the future, with Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez boasting oodles of potential but little reputation, and United's title assault began routinely enough, with a comfortable home victory over promoted Newcastle.
That set the tone for an almost flawless season at Old Trafford, but it would be away from M16 where trouble lay in wait, and the warning signs were there early on as the Reds surrendered late leads at Fulham and Everton to drop four points in two away games.
No. 19 for United! Gallery
The story of our record-breaking 2010/11 Premier League title win, in images.
Another lead was spurned in a thrilling Old Trafford clash with Liverpool, only for Dimitar Berbatov to ensure victory for the hosts by completing his hat-trick – the first by a United player against the Merseysiders for 64 years.
Away-day draws at Bolton and Sunderland were followed by the shock concession of two points at home to West Brom, as the Baggies rallied from two goals down after Patrice Evra's own goal and an out-of-character spillage by Edwin van der Sar.
The shocks kept coming, as Wayne Rooney announced his intention to leave the club, before a rapid change of heart prompted him to sign a new, long-term deal.
The episode coincided with the Reds' first away win of the league season, a 2-1 victory at Stoke brought about by two-goal hero Hernandez, who was demonstrating his predatory prowess whenever a half-chance arose – most notably at the Britannia Stadium with his brilliantly improvised back-header.
Champions Chelsea had started the season in imperious form, but began to haemorrhage points in the autumn as United's momentum grew. Blackburn caught the Reds, and Berbatov in particular, spectacularly on song.
The Bulgarian hit five of United's seven-goal haul in a one-sided romp past Rovers, while altogether narrower wins over Arsenal and Sunderland kept Sir Alex’s men at the head of the table.
Classic match: United 7 Blackburn 1Video
A New Year's Day victory at West Brom – just the second away success of the season – got 2011 off to a winning start, and the Reds' season-long unbeaten run rumbled on until early February, when Wolves sprang an almighty upset at Molineux.
The league leaders bounced back in the most spectacular fashion, however, as Manchester City were undone by that man Rooney's now-legendary overhead kick.
Yet just as a glorious Reds title procession appeared to be on the cards, back-to-back losses at Chelsea and Liverpool threw the Blues and Arsenal back into contention.
Rooney's overhead kick against CityVideo
Though the Gunners would beat United at the Emirates Stadium in May, the Reds had a three-point lead with three games left to play; the first against Carlo Ancelotti's champions at Old Trafford.
United’s scintillating display demonstrated the gulf between the sides, even if the narrow 2-1 scoreline did not, and with three points in the bank just one more was needed from clashes with Blackburn and Blackpool to confirm the title.
It came at Ewood Park, sealing a record 19th title and fittingly leading to a last-day coronation at OId Trafford, where the champions exerted our rule most ruthlessly with a 4-2 win over Blackpool, completing a record-breaking season in style.