Just a few weeks ago and life may have seemed difficult for Manchester United. Last season’s champions found themselves five points adrift of Arsenal after their second derby defeat of the season – and with Arsene Wenger’s men only losing once so far, it seemed a crucial gap had been forged.
Although mathematically still in contention, Liverpool have been out of the title race since Christmas, but came to Old Trafford on the back of impressive victories, none less so than their humbling of Inter Milan in the Champions League.
But any hopes they may have had were washed away just before half-time as Wes Brown scored his first goal in two years and Javier Mascherano received his marching orders for two bookings – some say the decision was harsh, others that he should have been sent off even earlier – either way it was a significant turn of events.
Pepe Reina came and failed to claim a second half corner which Ronaldo duly capitalised on by scoring his first against United’s rivals to make it two before Nani crashed home a third to seal the win.
Suddenly, the nerves of a few weeks ago were on the back burner as United could boast a five point gap over their North London challengers after an 11 point turn around, although after Chelsea’s win, see their lead cut to 5.
Speaking after the game, manager Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t hide his delight.
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