Charlton Athletic 0 v 4 Manchester United
The Valley Stadium, London
1st May 2005
On the weekend that Chelsea clinched the Premier League Title (for the first time in 50 years), United showed that they truly have the calibre to win it next season.
After a poor season by Uniteds standards - where we have beaten the biggest and best teams in English football, but lost miserably to the sub-standard and scrappy teams that line the foot of the table - it was nice to see the Reds ripping Charlton to pieces. Finally, we have found a way to get past people that play only to get a nil-nil draw!
The United team wasn't even our strongest - we left young Ronny on the bench, and Gary Neville and Heinze were both out with suspension and injury respectively. What's more, Keano and Scholes only played half the game anyway! The big shocker was that Sir Alex had chosen to put our bumbling buffoon - AKA Roy Carroll - back in goal. It seems that the former-Wigan keeper has decided that, after not even getting contacted by another club when he could move on a free transfer, he actually quite likes being at Manchester United, and is willing to stay. (Though hopefully he won't!).
Without Ronny playing, it was difficult for me to enjoy the game, but some of the goals managed to cheer me up!
The first came after half an hour, when, after looking so impressive for most of the game, the young Charlton keeper - who was making his league debut for the London club - could only parry one of Rooney's thunderstrike's to the feet of Paul Scholes. Scholes finished with ease.
After scoring the first, Scholes was in a particularly unselfish mood for the second. He managed to keep the keeper guessing, before he passed the ball to Fletcher, who just had to literally side-foot the ball gently into the open net!
And after half-time, United were equally as clinical and potent. The third goal came courtesy of Alan Smith, who intercepted a poor pass by one of the Charlton defenders, then went on the rampage. He raced towards goal and got it past the keeper with ease. It just goes to show that he's still a top-class goal-scorer, even though Sir Alex has mainly played him in midfield.
United scored a fourth just five minutes later. It wasn't so much a team effort as a master-class by Wayne Rooney - United's other superstar 19 year old! He flicked the ball neatly into the goal from twenty yards or so out.
Charlton played out the last twenty minutes with pride and passion - though one of their substitute defenders got a bit over-excited, and ended up seeing Red for mauling Wes Brown!
Overall, a victory that proves we're still up there, and an optomistic sign for the future.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Andersen; Young, El Karkouri, Fortune, Konchesky; Roomedahl (Euell, 68), Holland, Kishishev (Perry, 68), Murphy, Johansson; Jeffers (Lisbie, 55).
Subs not used: Kiely, Hughes.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Carroll; Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Oâ€™Shea; Fletcher, Keane (Kleberson, 64), Scholes (Neville P, 64), Giggs:, Rooney (Fortune, 69); Smith.
Subs not used: Howard, Ronaldo.