Manchester United and Everton contested a classic Premier League encounter on this day 11 years ago, playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw.
The Premier League is often seen as one the most competitive leagues in the world of football. On a given day, any team can cause an upset against the big boys.
It’s what makes the league so popular among fans and experts alike. The results aren’t always as straightforward as they may seem, meaning even neutrals will turn in for matches.
This was best evidenced when Manchester United visted Everton in the beginning of the 2010-11 season. Everton were no pushovers but United had finished second the previous season.
As such, many expected United to pick up the win. And when they led 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining, many assumed that the points were going back to Old Trafford. However, Everton would incredibly end up snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat.
With 11 years having passed since the game, let us look back at what was a thrilling match in so many ways.
The match saw both teams take the lead at different points of the game. But it was the home team that drew first blood in the early stages of the match.
A long ball over the top from Tim Cahill put Mikel Arteta clean through; his shot, however, was saved by Edwin van der Saar. The rebound fell to Leon Osma, and a ball in to Steven Pienaar saw the South African forward slot home from close range.
United didn’t take that early blow lying down. They swarmed forward in attack and would find an equaliser soon enough. A well-weighted cross from Nani found Darren Fletcher, who shot home from the six yard box.
They went into the break honours even, but the second half was much different story.
At 1-1 when the second half started, it seemed as if there was everything to play for as far as both teams were concerned. But it was United who struck the key blow early on.
Once again it was Nani who turned provider. He put in a cross from a corner, but it was headed clear by an Everton man. The ball went straight to Paul Scholes, who almost went for a shot but instead played it out to Nani on the right.
The Portuguese winger played in another sumptuous ball that Nemanja Vidic headed in. 2-1 United with 2 minutes of the second half played.
Buoyed by that, United pushed forward in search of another goal. However, it would only arrive nearly twenty minutes after the second.
Scholes, collecting the ball from a deep position, played a wonderful ball through to Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian striker took the ball in his stride and ran with it before calmly slotting past Tim Howard.
Everton continued to look for goals but the game looked settled at this point, much to the frustration of manager David Moyes.
However, things would change in the space of 90 seconds once injury time struck.
With over a minute of stoppage time played, Everton piled forward in search of even a half chance. Pienaar played a ball to Marouane Fellaini, who played it wide to Leighton Baines.
Baines conjured up a wonderful cross that was met by Cahill, who didn’t celebrate. He merely rushed to collect the ball and get play started again. 3-2 now but it still seemed like a consolation goal more so than anything else.
However, Everton now had a spring in their step and United seemed genuinely rattled. As such, it surprised no one when the home team poured forward again with the seconds counting down.
Pienaar was probing down the left and found Baines on the overlap. He played in another inch-perfect cross, only this time Cahill could not head it towards goal.
He was crowded out by United’s defence and as such, a shot at goal was not an option. Instead, he gently laid it off to Arteta, who was lurking at the edge of the box.
The Spaniard pounced on the ball, as no one had picked him up. His shot took a deflection off Fletcher but flew into the back of the net. 3-3.
Amazingly, Everton could have had a fourth. They launched a swift counter-attack in the final seconds and Arteta played Phil Jagielka through.
However, the centre-back shot straight at Van der Saar. Not that it would have mattered since he was flagged offside anyway.
But the game ended 3-3. It was, in many ways, a modern-day Premier League classic. And few could argue Everton didn’t deserve the point.