Manchester United beat Leeds United 5-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday to start the season on a bang.
And if the game was familiar, it was because there were some striking similarities to the first game of the 2006/07 season.
In August 2006 United came out of the blocks just as quickly and beat Fulham 5-1.
It was the last time United won the season opener 5-1. That season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team won the league.
The score alone is not the end of the similarities that familiar circumstances result in the game.
(Photo by Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)
Prove player with a point
When United started the 2006 season, the country had an international tournament disappointment at the World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo was the number one public enemy in the media and there were questions about whether he could coexist with Wayne Rooney.
United responded strongly. Louis Saha took an early opening goal before an own goal, and then Ronaldo and Rooney gave United a 4-0 lead on just 19 minutes.
Rooney grabbed another one in the second half and United only clicked that day while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was substituted on in the second half.
The 2005/06 season was mixed. United fell for the first time in the group stage of the Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson. The team finished second in the Premier League, eight points behind a seemingly unstoppable Chelsea.
This time United went into the season knowing there was still a lot to do. Second place last season was creditable, but not good enough.
An international near miss against England also set the scene for the summer, and the pathetic derision by Leeds fans of Jadon Sancho for missing a penalty showed the United players had to deal with some excitement.
Players like Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba came into the season to seize the moment, like Ronaldo and Rooney in 2006.
The 5-1 win back then was a letter of intent and United achieved that today.
(ANDREW YATES / AFP via Getty Images)
United won their first Premier League title in four years after a rare drought under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2007.
It’s been even longer for United since the big man retired and this team seems better equipped than anyone to end the wait.
Convincing victories from Chelsea and Liverpool yesterday showed that this season will be fiercely competitive, with City starting later today. United did their part and at least the 5-1 comparison is a positive omen.
This team is capable of great things and while there are still 37 league games remaining, it looks like this season could be a fun ride.
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