Sunday 31 December 2017

United's best of 2017: Part One

With 2017 almost over, we take a look at our favourite and most memorable moments from another hectic year at Old Trafford. In the first of our two-part series, we focus on the collective aspect of the past 12 months to comprise our highlights reels. In the second instalment, we'll shift the emphasis on to individual players.

This is United Faithful's Best of: 2017

Best moment - Winning the Europa League
Honorable mention: Zlatan's late EFL Cup final winner 

Nothing can compare with the feeling of winning a trophy and we were spoilt in that respect in 2017 with two major pieces of major silverware. After the terror attack in Manchester, it proved an emotional night in the Swedish capital where the Reds completed the full set of honours against Ajax. The League Cup win was also memorable, particularly Zlatan's winner, when time seemed to stand still as he rose to meet Ander Herrera's cross. The Swede's late finish sealed a 3-2 win - after Southampton had levelled from two down - to deliver the first trophy of the Jose Mourinho era. 

Best home performance: United 2-0 Chelsea (April)
Honourable mention: United 4-0 West Ham (August) 

Champions-elect Chelsea proved unstoppable as they rendered last season's title race a procession, but they were taken down a peg or two in gloriously unexpected fashion in April, thanks to another example of Jose's tactical acumen. Ander Herrera marked Eden Hazard out of the game, set up the first goal for Marcus Rashford and then scored himself. The Blues were well beaten on the day. There have been plenty of convincing home wins, but this term's opener against the Hammers, a demolition, offered much promise. Romelu Lukaku wasted no time at all to get off the mark with a brace on his official United debut.

Best away performance: Celta Vigo 0-1 United (May)
Honourable mention: CSKA Moscow 1-4 United (September) 

European semi-finals away from home are rarely straightforward, and this controlled performance proved the perfect platform for progress to the final. Marcus Rashford's expert free-kick gave the team a crucial advantage and one that we would not relinquish. This season's trip to Moscow looked to be the most difficult Group A tie, but CSKA were blown away in an early three-goal blitz and even a late consolation for the Russians could not prevent a  heavy 4-1 defeat. 

Best result: Ajax 0-2 United (May)
Honourable mention: Arsenal 1-3 United (December)

With the pressure on in a make-or-break European final, what better way to sign off the season with a dominant victory that was almost comfortable. Goals by Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came at the ideal time in another Mourinho masterclass. Ajax's high-pressing game plan was never allowed to get off the ground as dangerous opponents were swatted aside to seal a long-awaited return to the Champions League. The recent triumph at Arsenal ended the Gunners long unbeaten run at the Emirates - and it may have owed a lot to David de Gea's heroics - but a 3-1 victory at our old rivals and one of the country's biggest sides has to go down as one of our best results of 2017. 

Best atmosphere: United 1-1 Celta Vigo (May)
Honourable mention: Southampton 0-1 United (September)

Old Trafford has seen some memorable European nights down the years, but the stadium was rocking at the end of the semi-final with Celta Vigo. In a tense finale with the tie on a knife-edge, the relief and explosion of joy was clear for all to see. Not least from the boss, who let his emotions pour out as he kissed the badge and threw a scarf into the Stretty to gee up the fans.
This season's match at St Mary's was a rare 3 pm kick off for the Reds, but the team were backed magnificently throughout by 3,500 travelling United fans who made the long journey to the south coast. The away support never stopped singing from first to last, and roared the team home to a valuable and hard-fought 1-0 win. 

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