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Old 24th March 2009, 11:22   #1
TanyaT
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Default Look and learn Liverpool: United have been here before, in 1998... and blown it

Look and learn Liverpool: United have been here before, in 1998... and blown it

By Laura Williamson
Mail 24 March 2009


On March 14, 1998 Manchester United were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford by their closest rivals, Arsenal. The Gunners went on to win the 1997-98 Premiership title.

On March 14, 2009 Manchester United were hammered 4-1 at Old Trafford by their closest rivals, Liverpool. Can Rafa Benitez's side go on to the win the 2008-09 Premier League title?

'It was a foregone conclusion until we came to the beginning of March,' said Sir Alex Ferguson of the 1997-98 Premier League campaign. Manchester United were 12 points clear of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal coming in to March and managed to blow it.

Fast forward 11 years and we have a similar situation.

On March 1, 2009 United were seven points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand. The lead is now just a single point, although United still have an extra game to play.

It can't happen again, can it?

In 1998 United were hit by injuries with Ryan Giggs, Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all needing treatment, while Paul Scholes played against Arsenal with a broken toe on March 14.

This year it is suspensions that could cost them. Nemanja Vidic must miss a second first-team game (against Aston Villa on April 5) and Scholes and Wayne Rooney will also be absent when Martin O'Neill's side visit Old Trafford after their red cards against Fulham on Saturday.

But can Liverpool pull off the feat that Wenger's Arsenal managed in 1998?

A side that contained the famous Arsenal 'back five' (Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Keown and Winterburn), coupled with the creative prowess of Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Viera and Nicolas Anelka, embarked on a 10-match unbeaten run to snatch the title from United. The Gunners had it sown up by May 3, when a 4-0 victory over Everton secured the title with two games to go.

Liverpool will need to win at least seven of their remaining eight games (against Fulham, Blackburn, Arsenal, Hull, Newcastle, West Ham, West Brom and Tottenham) to have any chance of winning their first title since 1990, but the pressure is back on United, even with that game in hand (at Wigan).


Sportsmail looks back at the 1997-98 Premier League run-in to see why Liverpool fans should not give up hope just yet...

February 28
Chelsea 0 Manchester United 1
Arsenal 47 Man Utd 59 (Points difference= +12 Man Utd)

March 2
West Ham 0 Arsenal 0
Arsenal 48 Man Utd 59 (Points difference= +11 Man Utd)

March 7
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Manchester United 0
Arsenal 48 Man Utd 59 (Points difference= +11 Man Utd)

March 11
West Ham United 1 Manchester United 1
Wimbledon 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal 51 Man Utd 60 (Points difference= +9 Man Utd)

March 14
Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal 54 Man Utd 60 (Points difference= +6 Man Utd)

March 28
Arsenal 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Manchester United 2 Wimbledon 0
Arsenal 57 Man Utd 63 (Points difference= +6 Man Utd)

March 31
Bolton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal 60 Man Utd 63 (Points difference= +3 Man Utd)

April 6
Blackburn Rovers 1 Manchester United 3
Arsenal 60 Man Utd 66 (Points difference= +6 Man Utd)

April 10
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1
Arsenal 60 Man Utd 67 (Points difference= +7 Man Utd)

April 11
Arsenal 3 Newcastle United 1
Arsenal 63 Man Utd 67 (Points difference= +4 Man Utd)

April 13
Blackburn Rovers 1 Arsenal 4
Arsenal 66 Man Utd 67 (Points difference= +1 Man Utd)
April 18

Arsenal 5 Wimbledon 0
Manchester United 1 Newcastle United 1
Arsenal 69 Man Utd 68 (Points difference= +1 Arsenal)

April 25
Barnsley 0 Arsenal 2
Arsenal 72 Man Utd 68 (Points difference= +4 Arsenal)

April 27
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 3
Arsenal 72 Man Utd 71 (Points difference= +1 Arsenal)
April 29

Arsenal 1 Derby County 0
Arsenal 75 Man Utd 71 (Points difference= +4 Arsenal)

May 3
Arsenal 4 Everton 0
Arsenal 78 Man Utd 71 (Points difference= +7 Arsenal)

May 4
Manchester United 3 Leeds United 0
Arsenal 78 Man Utd 74 (Points difference= +4 Arsenal)

May 6
Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0
Arsenal 78 Man Utd 74 (Points difference= +4 Arsenal)

May 10
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 0
Barnsley 0 Manchester United 2
Arsenal 78 Man Utd 77 (Points difference = +1 Arsenal)

Premier League table 1998

1. Arsenal (C) 38 23 9 6 68-33 78
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Manchester United (CL) 38 23 8 7 73-26 77


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/foo...-blown-it.html
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