Unlike 2018 in 2008 we actually had a title race very much still alive as we headed into April.
The stage was set as Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford with both teams still aiming to win the Premier League.
Arsenal arrived in Manchester reeling after being dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool that week but came with a strong starting line-up. Lehman in goal with a back four of Toure, Gallas, Song and Clichy, the midfield space occupied by a sparkling Fabregas, Eboue on the right, Gilberto Silva and Hleb. Up front Arsenal had Van Persie and Adebayor to lead the line.
How many of those Arsenal players would walk straight into today’s team? The easier question would be to ask how many wouldn’t. Arsenal weren’t the only team at the time sporting a vintage line up as United went with Van Der Sar in goal, a back four of Brown, Ferdinand, Pique and Evra, a midfield five of Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Hargreaves and Park, with Rooney up front.
Arsenal were exceptional in the first half with Fabregas at only twenty years of age giving the kind of performance that would see him light up the league that season. Whilst the first half definitely belonged to Arsenal it wasn’t until two minutes into the second half that Adebayor appeared to use his arm to bundle the ball across the line.
The lead did not last long and four minutes later Hargreaves put a dangerous ball into the box which William Gallas appeared to handle. United were awarded a penalty, the first attempt at which was ruled out for encroachment but Ronaldo wasn’t put off and powered home the second attempt into the bottom corner.
The game was decided in the seventy second minute when after Evra was tripped outside the box, Hargreaves stepped up and delivered a fantastic free kick into the net to secure victory for United. Arsenal tried to press late on but substitute Bendtner saw his effort saved by Van Der Sar.
If the starting eleven of United wasn’t strong enough, they brought on Tevez and Giggs that night along with Anderson.
This victory is seen by many as one of the pivotal moments which secured the club a two point lead over Chelsea at the end of the season. Arsenal finished the season four points back of United and their final total of eighty three points hasn’t been beaten in the following ten years.
What hasn’t changed in the last ten years is Ronaldo’s ability to put away pressure penalties, his extra time winner against Juventus on Wednesday was his 103rd of his career.