The final day of the 19th Premier League season kicks off today with the trophy waiting in the wings of Old Trafford for the final whistle to blow and the celebrations to begin. Having secured the title over a season of peaks and troughs, this will be a special celebration in Manchester. United will become the most successful English team domestically when the Premier League trophy is held aloft and bitter rivals Liverpool will be knocked off their perch.
The game may not be integral to the season for United but it will be an important fixture for many other reasons. This will be the last time Edwin Van Der Sar will walk out between the sticks at Old Trafford and SAF has chosen to give Edwin the captain’s armband in a sign of the respect that he has gained over the years. Everyone has the fond memory of Edwin saving the crucial penalty against Nicholas Anelka in Moscow that won the Champions League for United but over the years, he has been a stalwart part of the team that gained such successes in the past 5 years. Along the way, Van Der Sar set a clean sheet record for the English league having kept out a goal for over 1,300 consecutive minus. I don’t know how we are going to set out replacing him as he is more than goalkeeper but it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Let’s hope that we can send him off with a clean sheet to give him what he deserves.
This match will also hopefully see more silverware come the way of Old Trafford with Dimitar Berbatov sitting on top of the Premier League goalscoring list. Having led the race to the golden boot all season, Tevez snatched two at Stoke City to leave it down to the last day to decide. Berbatov has decided to hold his goalscoring form for Old Trafford this season having knocked 5 past Blackburn and 3 past Liverpool and Birmingham respectively and I truly hope he gets his moment in the limelight. Berbatov has suffered from many a critic during his United career but I challenge anybody to find a player of Berbatov’s quality that wouldn’t complain about a 22-year old Mexican taking his place in the starting line-up. He really has settled this season and I hope he stays for more to come. Here’s to hoping DB9 can wrap up another hat-trick to finish off his most productive season yet.
Whilst this fixture may be insignificant in the title race for United, it is do or die for Blackpool and they couldn’t have come to a more difficult fixture needing 3 points. United have only dropped 2 points all season at home in a draw with West Bromwich Albion and have built a campaign around their home form. Blackpool have given themselves a fighting chance having been undefeated in their past 4 games and will once again look toward their talisman Charlie Adam to instigate their charge. Having earned himself a place on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year, he has proven to be quite a player this season but Blackpool will face an uphill struggle to take down United and put a speedbump in the celebrations. I can’t see Blackpool emerging with 3 points so they may well end the day relegated from the Premier League but nobody can take away from their commitment as they have been one of the most exciting teams this season.
No matter what happens today, we will be celebrating our record 19th title at the final whistle and SAF will make himself the leader of the most successful team in English history. With Dalglish becoming manager of Liverpool, I can’t see SAF retiring anytime soon so let’s hope that can next season he can lead United to their 20th title in the 20th season of the Premier League. I’d say that is fate.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Blackpool