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February 1999

The month of January had been a truly spectacular one for Manchester United and they gained further momentum in February. They stepped up their bid to reclaim the Premier League title by notching up four wins in five matches, while also managing to progress into the quarter finals of the FA Cup.


Barring a thumping of Nottingham Forest, United had to display a lot of character and resilience to grind out victories over Derby County, Fulham, Coventry City and Southampton, while a credible draw against Arsenal was sandwiched in between the fine run.


The arrival of Steve McClaren as assistant manager from Derby to take over the void left by Brain Kidd’s departure in December was also seen as one of the main reasons for United’s fine form during the month.


3/2/1999

Manchester United 1 – 0 Derby County

Venue – Old Trafford

In a match were chances were at a premium, mainly due to a sluggish Manchester United attack as well as a great show of defiance by Derby, the Red Devils managed to grind out a 1-0 victory to the relief of the Old Trafford faithful.


After a dull first hour to the game, Manchester United finally managed to breach the Derby defence in the 65th minute as a delightful Paul Scholes’ chip pass was expertly taken into his stride by Dwight Yorke before the striker slotted home to hand his side the win.


While it was certainly not vintage United, the three points was far more important than the performance.


6/2/1999

Nottingham Forest 1 – 8 Manchester United

Venue – City Ground

While Manchester United’s performance in the 1-0 victory over Derby County was not all that convincing, there was nothing sluggish about their performance three days later, as the Red Devils simply tore apart Nottingham Forest 8-1 at the City Ground.


Dwight Yorke opened the scoring within the first two minutes but Forest soon pegged back United through a fine equalizer from Alan Rodgers in the 6th minute of the game. However, Forest’s lead did not last even a single minute as Andy Cole restored United’s lead straight after kick off and the Red Devils went into half time with a 2-1 lead.


Perhaps no one could have fathomed what would happen in the second half as United found the back of the net on six occasions, with substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grabbing a sensational four goals in the last ten minutes of the game.


Yorke and Cole got in on the act once again as the duo grabbed a brace each and then the stage was set for the star of the show Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


The Norwegian striker came on in the 72nd minute of the game for Dwight Yorke and simply ran rings around the hapless Nottingham Forest defence.


Solskjaer’s first came in the 80th minute before the striker grabbed three goals in the space of five minutes to complete the rout and go down in Premier League history as the only player to score four goals after coming on off the bench.

















14/2/1999

Manchester United 1 – 0 Fulham

Venue – Old Trafford

After thumping Nottingham Forest, it was understandable that Manchester United fans were expecting goals when the Red Devils welcomed Fulham to Old Trafford in the FA Cup Sixth round clash.


However, United would go on to score only the one as Andy Cole slotted home from close range to hand his side a comfortable victory. While it certainly was not Manchester United at their best, the victory sealed their place into the quarter finals of the FA Cup where Chelsea lay waiting.


17/2/1999

Manchester United 1 – 1 Arsenal

Venue – Old Trafford

In arguably the most important game of the month and perhaps in the title race, Manchester United welcomed main title rivals Arsenal to Old Trafford and played out an entertaining 1-1 draw.


Having lost both their previous fixtures against the Gunners 3-0 earlier in the campaign, United were certainly out for revenge and started brightly creating a host of opportunity. However, the Red Devils were unable to find the back of the net with Dwight Yorke spurning a great chance from the penalty spot as well.


In the second half, Arsenal began to assert themselves and took the lead through Nicolas Anelka to shock the Old Trafford faithful and the home fans were left fearing the worst.


It was Andy Cole who came to the rescue of United once again though, by heading in a wonderful cross from Phil Neville. Both teams pushed on for the winner but were unable find the net again and had to share the spoils following a pulsating encounter.


20/2/1999

Coventry City 0 – 1 Manchester United

Venue – Highfield Road

In another hard fought game, Manchester United grabbed their third 1-0 victory of the month against a resilient Coventry City side at Highfield Road to take another huge step in their hopes of claiming the title.


The match was very tight and United had to wait until the 80th minute to grab the winner as a trademark counter started off by a long throw from Peter Schmeichel was eventually finished off by Ryan Giggs down the other end in a matter of seconds.


While Coventry did press for the equalizer, United held on to claim another valuable three points.


27/2/1999

Manchester United 2 – 1 Southampton

Venue – Old Trafford

February finished off with another typical battling performance by Manchester United in their Premier League win against Southampton.


After being frustrated for the majority of the game, United finally got the breakthrough in the 80th minute from the unlikely source of Roy Keane before Dwight Yorke confirmed the Red Devils’ victory with a strike four minutes later.


A horrible mistake by Peter Schmeichel meant that Matt Le Tissier managed to get one back for the Saints but it proved to be no more than a consolation in the end.


Star Performer of the Month:
Ronny Johnsen

February was a month where Manchester United had to display their battling qualities and while the likes of Dwight Yorke and co. scored couple of vital goals, United’s solid defence was the foundation of their success.


At the heart of the defence that performed exceptionally well was Ronny Johnsen. The Norwegian defender formed a fine partnership at the back alongside Jaap Stam and certainly played a huge part in United’s fine form during the month of February.



League Table

Pos

Team

Pld

Pts

GD

1st

Manchester United

28

57

+34

2nd

Chelsea

27

53

+19

3rd

Arsenal

26

49

+22

4th

Aston Villa

27

44

+7

5th

Leeds United

26

42

+14

Results - February 1999

Date

Comp

Opp

Venue

Score

3rd

Premier
League

Derby
County

H

1-0

6th

Premier
League

Nottm
Forest

A

8-1

14th

FA Cup

Fulham

H

1-0

17th

Premier
League

Arsenal

H

1-1

20th

Premier
League

Coventry
City

A

1-0

27th

Premier
League

Southam-
pton

H

2-1