Review 07/08: The Worst Of United's Season
United have been crowned Champions of England and of Europe - yet the campaign wasn't only about glory and sunshine. Blood, sweat and tears were all there, as were boredom and embarassment. Here are our picks.
The lowest point of the season
This dubious honor may have been won by an off-field moment but though the Christmas party was pretty embarassing, it was nothing compared to the Manchester derby on the 50th anniversary of Munich. United were outplayed. At home. By Manchester City. And Arsenal went five points clear.
The worst performance of the season
Once again, the Manchester derby wins hands down. We struggled to create chances, we could not dominate the midfield and we were all over the place defensively, giving the ball away near our own penalty box. A thoroughly deserved 2-1 defeat.
Worst individual display of 2007/08
I made my choice - but out of respect for the man in question I will not announce the 'winner'.
Most disappointing player of the season
Well, it shouldn't be a disappointment as we should have expected it but Louis Saha's finally lost my patience with all his injuries. He can stay as the sixth striker if he accepts a pay cut, that's what I think - though he's a likeable guy.
The worst goal given away by United
Once again, step forward February 10, 2008. Darius Vassell's opener was the result of such calamitous defending that rocked my belief in the Rio and Vida. They could have cleared the ball about 493 times but somehow failed and it was the third shot in the space of five seconds that Vassell finally put away.
The worst miss of the season
There were plenty of misses as we are masters in squandering chances yet there are two that stand out among my memories: Carlos Tevez at the Eastlands and the same man at Bolton. The latter is our winner as he should have done nothing else but sidefoot into the empty net from three yards to bring us back on level terms. How he stabbed the ball wide is beyond my comprehension.
Worst referee of the season
Rob Styles, at Blackburn. United should have had three penalties yet he awarded none and gave a free-kick to Blackburn when Rooney was kicked on the hip. A big boo. Martin Atkinson also deserves a mention, how he failed to give a penalty for Distin's barge on Ronaldo in the FA Cup tie against Portsmouth is one of the baffling mysteries of life.
When Lady Luck totally deserted United
There are two candidates: Chelsea away where we lost because of a dubious penalty but not before Ashley Cole and Andriy Shevchenko produced goalline clearances. The second one is Portsmouth in the FA Cup where we should have won 12-1 yet somehow the ball always went the wrong way: hit the post, hit James, hit a defender on the line... Unbelievable.
The worst, dullest game of the season
There weren't many but there were two during which I nearly fell asleep watching: Sunderland home and Everton away. Two 1-0 wins at the time we struggled to create chances, let alone score... our toothlessness and solid defending ensured the games were totally unwatchable.
The most staggering display of stupidity by a United player
Nani wins it: we're 3-1 up at home in a must-win game against West Ham with half-time approaching and what does he do? He reacts to provokation, headbutts Lucas Neill and gets sent off. Fortunately, West Ham could not conjure up a comeback against 10 men - in fact, they conceded another as United cruised through the second half.
Worst Old Trafford atmosphere of the season
No contest really: the 'funeral', as Fergie memorably described it, against Birmingham City on New Year's Day was as quiet as a funeral could be.
That's it, our hall of shame is completed. If you have an ideas for more categories feel free to share them of course. And now, on for the best of the season - it will be a much better read.