|Scott McTominay celebrating his goal against Manchester City. Source: Getty Images|
Who would have thought that when Manchester kicked off the 2019/20 season back on August 11th, it would end on August 16th the following year. A mammoth 370 days the campaign lasted for with United securing third place in the league for Champions League qualification and also reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
In a season that has seen many ups and downs for the Reds, I have picked out five great moments from a memorable campaign.
Euphoria At The End Of The Manchester Derby
In what ended up being the final game to be played at Old Trafford in front of a crowd that season, it was the perfect game for the occasion. We had been on a unbeaten nine game run before this match and knew we needed all three points to keep the pressure up on Chelsea who were in fourth place at the time.
An exquisite chip from a Bruno Fernandes’s free kick into the six yard box setup Anthony Martial to give us the lead on the half hour mark. United had to absorb a lot of pressure in the second half as our defence held up to the threat of the City attack. As minutes ticked down to the full time, it was into the ninety sixth minute that a throw out from City’s goalkeeper Ederson was met by Scott McTominay who hit a 40 yard strike towards the goal and sealed the win in the derby.
It sent the Old Trafford faithful into wild celebrations. Being at the game myself, it was the most exhilarating and euphoric moment I have experienced at Old Trafford. The whole stadium was bouncing, cheering and chanting Ole’s name and McTominay’s. Also, it seems the tide was beginning turn in rivalry against our neighbours as we went onto achieved 3 wins from 4 that season over City.
Bruno Fernandes Arrives At The Club
There was so much anticipation about Bruno’s arrival that we had to wait until the end of the January transfer window for him to arrive. He made his debut against Wolves on the first day of February and with the first touch he had, the Old Trafford faithful greeted it with a massive cheer. Bruno had more shots and passes than any other players and looked at home playing for United.
We had been lacking creativity before his arrival as in certain games we would be unable to break down the opposition to find that crucial pass or cross into the six yard box. Since his debut, Bruno has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player in the league. Also, no other United player has registered more Premier League assists than Fernandes with seven assists in the 2019-20 campaign. In fourteen league appearances, he scored 8 goals.
One game that highlighted Bruno influence was against Brighton when United went on a superb counter attack as a perfect pass from Nemanja Matic to Mason Greenwood who drove the ball forward quickly before teeing up Fernandes with a cross into the six yard box. Did any United fan think Fernandes was going to miss the shot? It was like watching the United of old.
A firm fan favourite, Bruno’s impact at the club on the team has been undeniable and we cannot wait to see what he can do when the new Premier League season begins in September. We will be hoping that Ole and the United board will continue to invest in players with the same attitude and ability as Bruno in the years to come.
Opening day fixture against Chelsea
United began the season against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea and was already billed as a battle for the top four which continued throughout the campaign. United hit top form as they scored 4 goals to secure an emphatic win. We also got to see the arrival of new signings of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
It was seeing the new Red on the block Daniel James scoring the fourth goal in the game against Chelsea that endeared him to us fans even more. He arrived at the club soon after the passing of his father. His celebration was pure raw emotion and the fact we had such an incredible start to the season, he looked up to the skies to acknowledge his father.
James said after the game, “every day, I miss him, I know he is looking down on me now.”
December’s big wins against Pep and Mourinho
Speculation had been rife back in December 2019 with the media reporting that if United did not win their games against Tottenham at home and Manchester City away then Ole would be sacked. Not the fans would have been in favour of this as we still backed him even though we were worried beforehand. With two wins against our biggest rivals, we could see the club was finally beginning to go in the right decision.
Jose Mourinho who had just taken over as Tottenham manager was wanting to prove a point against his old employers and Ole who took over his job. A Marcus Rashford double made it a night to remember for United fans as we secured a 2-1 win and made it a forgettable night for Mourinho.
Going into the derby against Manchester City, United were in hopeful mood and we were not disappointed as we claimed all three points thanks to goals from Rashford and Martial who were beginning to hit form in their striking partnership. A superb first half display from United showed what they can do and could have easily scored more than two goals. The second half in this match also showed the character of the defence as they held their ground to keep City out.
Securing Champions League Qualification
We knew going into the final Premier League game against Leicester City that Champions League qualification was in our own hands. We had been on an incredible run of form as we clawed back Leicester’s eight point advantage to secure a third place finish in the league.
The game against was a nervy affair as both teams did not want to make a mistake that would cost them Champions League. A Bruno Fernandes’s penalty settled United down and when Jesse Lingard sealed the victory after he took the ball off Leicester’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to put it into the back of the net. Everyone including us fans were delighted for Jesse as teammates and coaches came off the bench to join in the celebration.
It was a job well done but qualifying for the Champions League is great and all but should not be met with true elation because we want to be back where they belong and challenging for the title, which I hope we will do next season.