Champions – for the 19th time, after coming back from a goal down!
Sir Alex Ferguson signaled his intent to put the Premier League title to bed this lunchtime by selecting a very strong side to face Blackburn at Ewood Park.
In fact of those normally considered to be his strongest starting eleven, only Edwin Van der Sar (rested) , Patrice Evra (on the bench) and Paul Scholes (on the bench were not starting.
With Ryan Giggs selected, the Welshman equaled Steve Perryman`s record of 613 top flight appearances for one club whilst Rio Ferdinand made his 600th club appearance. Michael Carrick was another to reach a milestone making his 150th league appearance for United.
Team – Kuszczak, Fabio, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evans, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Hernandez
Subs – Amos, Evra, Smalling, Anderson, Scholes, Owen, Berbatov
United got the half underway and could have taken an early lead when, in the fourth minute, Nani crashed a header against the Blackburn bar from a Rooney cross.
Nani then drove a shot wide in a period of possession whereby United were clearly on top. With ten minutes completed Blackburn forced a corner and when it was worked back in Samba crashed a shot over when it looked as if a goal was on the cards.
United continued to have the greater share of possession but Kuszczak was giving everyone a heart-attack with a nervy clearance form a back-pass, something he was to repeat later in the half.
With twenty-minutes played Blackburn, against the run of play, took the lead when Emerton fired home a low shot from a Hoilett cross into the box.
Blackburn 1 United 0 (Emerton – 20 minutes)
United tried to respond to going a goal down but Valencia saw his cross evade everyone, before a cross from Emerton evaded everyone in the United box. Robinson was then forced to claw a shot from Hernandez around the post before a Salgado cross was volleyed wide by Olsson.
As half time approached Evans saw a cross-cum-shot cleared by Robinson whilst both Rooney and Nani saw shots go over the bar.
Half Time – Blackburn 1 United 0
Blackburn got the second half underway and the first meaningful effort saw a Carrick shot blocked on the edge of the area. Nerves seemed to be playing a part and Hernandez first touch let him down when a chance beckoned.
Kuszczak cleared a cross off the head of Samba before a Nani shot deflected for a corner whilst Giggs saw a close range shot blocked by Phil Jones. Sir Alex Ferguson sensing that a change was needed to get United back into the game brought on Scholes for Fabio.
Midway through the half Blackburn almost went 2-0 up when an Olsson header, from an Emerton cross, rattled the post. Minutes later, with seventy minute splayed, Hernandez went through one-on-one with Robinson and although he over-ran the ball his legs were clipped by the keeper.
After consulting the linesman Phil Dowd gave a penalty and Wayne Rooney sent the keeper the wrong way.
Blackburn 1 United 1 (Rooney pen – 73 minutes)
Following the penalty both teams appeared to be happy with a point apiece and fifteen minutes of keep-ball ensued. Three minutes of added time were played out before the final whistle blew to signal United were Champions!
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