The 2020/21 Premier League fixture list has been released, with the season kicking off on September 12th. As with the...
Solskjaer v Cocu
Derby County and Manchester United come face to face in the FA Cup on Thursday night, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will come up against Phillip Cocu for the first time in over 20 years. The last time was a Champions League group match at Old Trafford in September 1998 - the first of two 3-3 draws the two sides contested that Autumn. The two men in the dugout that night were mentors to the two in charge this week - Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis Van Gaal.
The match at Old Trafford had all the ingredients of a classic European encounter - a trademark David Beckham free kick, two penalties for Barcelona, and a red card for Nicky Butt - just a quarter of an hour after he came off the bench to replace Solksjaer. Another substitute that night, who came on for his Champions League debut, was an 18 year old by the name of Xavi - who would go on to finish third in the Ballon D’Or on three separate occasions during his fantastic career, to complement a tidy haul of 1 World Cup win, 2 European Championships, 4 Champions League victories and 8 La Liga titles.
Remarkably, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich were all drawn in the same group in the 1998/99 Champions League, and it was United and Bayern who progressed into the knockout stages. They went on to beat Italian sides Internazionale and Juventus in the quarters and semis, before facing Bayern again in the final in Barcelona. Trailing 1-0 as the game entered stoppage time, we all know what happened next - Teddy Sheringham, and a certain Mr Solksjaer scored in quick succession to give United a first European Cup since 1968.
Ole will be hoping his side can produce a heroic performance on Thursday night to see United past another of their club legends, Wayne Rooney, before preparing for the Manchester derby on Sunday.
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