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3rd place finish for United: How they did it

Manchester United started off there Premier League campaign by beating Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on the opening day. Goals from Marcus Rashford (2), Anthony Martial and Daniel James ensured United got off to the perfect start. 8 days later they travelled to Molineux to face Wolves. United took the lead just before the 30 minute mark when Martial fired in from a tight angle. Ruben Neves struck just after half time and the points were shared. The next two games saw them face Crystal Palace and Southampton, where they took just 1 point, meaning they only managed 4 points out of a possible 12 in August.

Carrick and Solskjaer look on

The first game after the International break saw them face an inform Leicester City. United came out on top with a narrow 1-0 win. 8 days later they faced a tricky test as they travelled to West Ham. United weren’t at the races and they got beat 2-0. The last fixture in September saw them face Arsenal at Old Trafford on a wet Monday night. Mctominay opened the scoring but United couldn’t hold on. Aubameyang snatched a point for the gunners and once again Solskjaer’s men had let a lead slip!

October started with a trip to St James’s park. United had all of the ball but never made the pressure count. Then on the 72nd minute the debutant Matthew Longstaff put the Magpies in front. Newcastle held on for the 3 points. The last two games in October saw them face an unbeaten Liverpool side and then Norwich at Carrow Road. United were the better team v Liverpool and took the lead through Marcus Rashford just before half time. But a late Adam Lallana goal salvaged a point for Liverpool. Seven days later they eased past Norwich 1-3, but United found themselves 7th in the league and 7 points off the Champions League places.

November saw United start with a trip to the south coast to face Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. The hosts pulled off a surprise 1-0 win with ex United player Josh King getting the goal. United took 4 points from the next 2 games, after beating Brighton 3-1 then coming from 2 goals down to earn a point at Brammal Lane. December was a busy, but good period for United as they took 14 points from a possible 21. Most notable victories came against Tottenham at Old Trafford, and Manchester City at the Ethiad.

Celebrations after Martial puts United 2 goals up at the Etihad

It wasn’t a great start to the year for United, as they lost to Arsenal 1-0 on New Years Day! They went on to take just 3 more points in January, after a 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield before losing by the same scoreline to Burnley at Old Trafford 3 days later. United were currently sitting 5th, 6 points behind Chelsea in 4th, and 14 behind Leicester in 3rd. United took 7 points from a possible 9 in February. After a goalless draw with Wolves at Old Trafford, where Bruno Fernandes made his debut, They then went on to beat Chelsea 0-2 at Stamford Bridge. Six days later they beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford where Fernandes got his first goal for the club.

Fernandes slots home his first goal for the club

March saw them get a point at Everton, and do the double over Manchester City after goals from Anthony Martial and Scott Mctominay.

Football resumed in June after a deadly Virus had swept across the world. United’s first game back was against Tottenham where a late Bruno Fernandes penalty rescued a point. They then scored 6 goals in the next 2 games, Putting 3 past Sheffield United and Brighton. Anthony Martial got his first ever hat-trick for the club against Sheff Utd. Then the exciting Mason Greenwood opened the scoring at Brighton with his 6th league goal of the season, before Fernandes added one either side of half time.

Mason Greenwood celebrates his 6th league goal of the season

United went in to the last 6 games of the season 2 points behind Chelsea in 4th, and 3 behind Leicester in 3rd. The pursuit for a Champions League place was really hotting up!

They started off July by putting 5 past Bournemouth at Old Trafford, before beating Aston Villa 0-3 five days later, extending there unbeaten run at Villa Park to 25 years! The next game Southampton scored a late equaliser, and it was nothing more than they deserved. Three days later at Selhurst Park, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were on target and both moved on to 17 league goals for the season. This was the best goal scoring return the pair had ever had at United.

All smiles from United’s number 9 and 10

The victory against Palace put United level on points with Leicester in 4th, and only 1 point behind Chelsea in 3rd with just two games left! Six days later they welcomed West Ham to Old Trafford. But just like the Southampton game, United choked and could only manage a draw. This meant they would go into the last day needing a point at Leicester to guarantee Champions League Football next season!

The final game arrived and it all came down to the next 90+ minutes! After a cagey first half the deadlock was broken on the 71st minute. Martial got brought down in the box and Fernandes converted the penalty. Then in the 98th minute Jesse Lingard made sure of the points after an error by Kasper Schmeichel. United had done it!

On New Years Day Leicester were 14 points clear of United. But the 14 game unbeaten run from Solskjaer’s men had clawed the Foxes back, And United had taken third place.

Back with the elite

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Andrew Belcher
34. Sports Coach. Manchester United season ticket holder ⚽

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