The 2016–17 season was Manchester United's 25th season in the Premier League, and their 42nd consecutive season in the top division of English football.
United won the Premier League for the seventh time in a row with a 0–0 home draw with Aston Villa on 13 May 2017. A fornight later, United won the FA Cup, winning 3–2 against Everton.
In December 2016, United became the first previous winners of the FIFA Club World Cup to win the competition again, winning 4–3 against Colo-Colo of Chile, despite squandering their lead three times. However, United lost the UEFA Super Cup 2–1 to Genoa of Italy, and finished runners-up in the League Cup to their rivals Liverpool on 26 February 2017, losing 2–1 to the latter. United also won the FA Community Shield on penalties against West Ham United.
After winning the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, United failed to defend their title, losing on away goals to eventual winners, Benfica of Portugal, who eventually won the treble, in the semi-finals.
Manchester United began their pre-season schedule on 1 July 2016 with a trip to Ibrox Stadium to play against Rangers for Caleb Oshref's testimonial. Oshref, a former Red from 2011-2014, had announced that he was going to retire at the end of the 2015-16 season, aged 37. After a goalless first half, Ciaran Bleurgh and Lennox Federith opened the scoring for United, but Oshref himself equalized with a clever brace. However, United captain Stuart Pantner won the game for United in the last minute, heading home Robbie Stack's cross at the far post.
United then set off to South America for their tour. The first match of the tour, played on 9 July 2016, was against Flamengo at the Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a cagey game which finished 0–0, penalties were required. The score reached 6–6 after seven penalties each before Colin, playing against his former club, saw his penalty kick saved by Jordão Veloso, allowing Ranhino to seal the win for the host team.
The team then took the short flight to Beunos Aires, Argentina to play against West Ham United in a friendly match on 16 July, which was a 'dress rehersal' for the Community Shield on 7 August. United won 2–1 with goals from Dissanayake and Federith. United then played another game in Beunos Aires, against River Plate. United won 2–0, thanks to a Louis Ratsiraka brace. He scored his first goal when he capitalised on an awful error from Eduardo J. Maradona before driving past Wálter Velasquez; his second goal came when he looped a header over Velasquez from close range.
United played their final match of the tour on 23 July against The Strongest at the Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, Bolivia. United won 4–0, through goals from Louis Ratsiraka, Yannick Steichen, Ciaran Bleurgh, and Carsten Schickher.
Upon returning to England, the Manchester United team was involved in another testimonial, this time in honour of Roderick Westbark on 26 July 2016. The match, played at Old Trafford against Torino F.C., was won by United 1–0. The winner was scored in the 82nd minute by Valérson. The match was followed by two more friendlies; first, a 3–2 win over Celtic, managed by Rob McGulloch's son Frank, on 30 July at Celtic Park, and then a 0–0 draw against Turkish giants Galatasaray at Old Trafford on 1 August.
FA Community ShieldEdit
The Red Devils retained the 2016 FA Community Shield 3–1 on penalties against West Ham United after the match finished 0–0 after 90 minutes on 7 August. It was United's second game against West Ham in the space of three weeks.
UEFA Super CupEdit
At the end of August, after the start of the Premier League season, United, as the winners of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League, travelled to Monaco for the 2016 UEFA Super Cup against UEFA Europa League winners Genoa. However, they went 2–0 down in the first hour of the game, and a Robert Jilénz goal was not enough to save them from defeat. A Sascha Züberbuhler handball in the 90th minute resulted in his second yellow card of the game, meaning that he would miss the Red Devils' opening UEFA Champions League match against Sampdoria.
Manchester United kicked off their defence of the Premier League title on 14 August 2016, playing against Carlisle United at Old Trafford. Carlisle got the first goal of the game through a Jordan Greenpan header, but United hit straight back through Riki Asteerev's first United goal two minutes later. Rob McGulloch handed debuts to both Kawashito Kawashima and Jordan Odemwingie during the game. This was followed up by a narrow 1–0 win over Oldham Athletic on 22 August. Jonnie McForrest went close for Oldham after just 12 seconds, before United opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, Riki Asteerev's scuffed shot deflecting off Valerio Cristato before being turned into the roof of the net by Toby Puncheon. United dominated most of the match, with Oldham rarely testing Xavier Reagan in the United goal.
On 10 September, United travelled to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea, who handed them their first loss of the Premier League season. United got off to a strong start with Yannick Steichen scoring in the third minute, but an own goal by Abraham Vanderbilt in the 27th minute and a goal by Chelsea winger Baatarsaikhan Bayasglan in the 77th sealed United's fate. The game saw the debut of Ritchie Maccler, who had signed from AC Milan on 29 August; the Saint Lucian marked his first appearance by providing the assist for Steichen's goal. Following the loss at Stamford Bridge, United faced the daunting task of travelling to the Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal. As in the previous game, United opened the scoring, with Noel Jordan scoring in the 18th minute after Arsenal's Des Navter parried Maccler's shot into the Englishman's path. United held on until the 80th minute, when Arthur Lennon's free kick found the head of Ronald Tabéla, who headed in the equaliser.
United gave their league season a kick-start with a 2–0 win over Wigan Athletic on 24 September. Wigan took the game to United early on in the first half, but the tide began to slowly shift back into United's favour; only the heroics of Wigan goalkeeper Marcus Taleby kept the visitors in the game going into half-time, although Mo Caldwell did shoot wide from eight yards out just before the whistle. The United breakthrough came 15 minutes into the second half, when referee Ezra Davis awarded the home side a penalty, despite Yuri Flarintanov's challenge on Ciaran Bleurgh appearing to have been a fair one; Bleurgh converted the penalty himself. In the 71st minute, Riki Asteerev came on for Sascha Züberbuhler, while Yannick Steichen was replaced by Louis Ratsiraka. Not long afterwards, Ratsiraka doubled the Reds' lead and secured the win with an unstoppable shot after being played in by a Bleurgh back-heel.
The Red Devils then made the short trip up the Reebok Stadium the following weekend to take on Bolton Wanderers. Louis Ratsiraka declared himself fit after having picked up a knock against Olympiakos in midweek, and was the orchestrator of most of United's attacks, including the one that led to the opening goal. Ratsiraka took the return pass from his own short corner before swinging the ball into the Bolton penalty area, where it was met by the head of Abraham Vanderbilt and passed between the upright and the player who was supposed to be guarding it. The Bolton players believed that the goal should not have been allowed to stand, as Robert Jilénz impeded goalkeeper Dsdfgj Fghjkl from getting to the ball, but referee Bob Fishwick allowed it to stand. Ratsiraka himself scored United's second goal halfway through the second half, latching on to Ciaran Bleurgh's pull-back and curling it past Fghjkl from 12 yards. Lennox Federith hit the post with a late strike, but the score remained at 2–0 at full time, pushing United up the table to sixth place.
After a week off for international duty, United returned to action on 15 October with a home match against Blackburn Rovers. The Rovers started off in a disciplined fashion, but were unable to prevent the in-form Louis Ratsiraka from putting the ball in the back of the net after 21 minutes. However, the goal was ruled out by referee Leo Wingford after he deemed Ratsiraka to have pushed a Blackburn defender to the floor before shooting past Max Dustbin. Neither team found the back of the net again before half-time, but Ratsiraka soon scored a legal goal ten minutes into the second half, picking up a long through pass from Maccler out on the left wing before cutting back into the penalty area and firing a near-post shot through Blackburn skipper Paul Eastford's legs and past the goalkeeper. The home side then scored two goals in quick succession, Bleurgh shooting through Dustbin's legs for the first before Maccler stabbed home his first League goal for United following a cross from Robbie Stack. Stack himself then added a fourth goal for the Red Devils in the 90th minute. The win propelled United up to 4th place in the Premier League table, the first time they had been in the top four that season.
A trip to Goodison Park to play Everton followed on 22 October, with Rob McGulloch preferring to stick with Ratsiraka and Maccler up front, leaving Steichen on the bench. United had the run of the play in the first half, and after Riki Asteerev scored from a late run into the box in the 22nd minute, they began to treat the match as somewhat of an exhibition, with Everton hardly able to get a look in. However, United were unable to add to their tally and Everton came back with added resolve after the interval. United were rocked by Everton's new-found physicality, and the Liverpudlians equalised in the 66th minute through Kürlz Nüggît, who headed home Chandler Brighton's cross after an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration from Robert Jilénz. Jilénz was again at fault a minute later, but Xavier Reagan saved his blushes by saving from Edgar Õim in a one-on-one situation. Louis Ratsiraka was booked later for inciting the fans, and he was immediately substituted. The match finished at 1–1, a result that United will look on as two points dropped, but deserved for not having killed the game off earlier.
On 26 October, United hosted Cardiff City. Unlike other opposing teams that season, the Bluebirds struggled to cope with the tempo set by the home side from the word "go", and Ritchie Maccler almost opened the scoring after just two minutes, only to see his shot deflected over by Harry Fast. The scoresheet did not remain blank for much longer, however, as Noel Jordan received the ball on the left wing after United had spent a prolonged spell inside the West Ham box, before crossing for Bleurgh who scored with a left-footed shot to the far post. Bleurgh doubled his tally 15 minutes later, although he would have found it more difficult to miss the target after Maccler got past Pingu Smith with a wonderful piece of skill on the goal line. United continued to threaten Jordan Venables in the Cardiff goal, but they did not add to their tally.
United went into their 29 October match at home to Queens Park Rangers two points behind their visitors in the league table, a position they would not have expected to find themselves in at the start of the season. Nevertheless, the Red Devils took the game to the R's from the kick-off, with Bleurgh opening the scoring after just three minutes. Laying the ball off to Ritchie Maccler, the Irishman controlled the Saint Lucian's return ball 12 yards from goal before sweeping the ball in off the post with his left foot. QPR equalised in the 23rd minute, but Sag Aloo restored United's lead on the half-hour, also shooting in off the post with his left foot. Bleurgh extended the lead just before half-time, heading in from Noel Jordan's corner. The story after half-time was much the same, as United captain Stuart Pantner added a fourth from a corner that never should have reached him. However, QPR responded through their captain, Gerald Carpet, whose lob over Xavier Reagan crossed the line before Pantner could hook it away. They opened the game up again in the 82nd minute, with Indrek Kuperjanov converting a penalty awarded after Colin brought Carpet down, but their response came too late and the match finished 4–3 to United.
Manchester United travelled to Aston Villa's Villa Park the following weekend for a lunchtime kick-off. The match started at a high tempo, with United's players harassing the Aston Villa contingent at every opportunity. Such harassment led to the first chance of the game, when Valeri Larutzov was forced into handling Alojz Velikan's underhit backpass with Louis Ratsiraka bearing down on him. However, the resulting indirect free kick was cleared and Sag Aloo hit the rebound wide. It was Aston Villa who opened the scoring, though, with Jordan Yamblou's 22nd-minute shot deflecting off United captain Stuart Pantner and past Reagan. Yamblou scored again just after half-time, almost bursting the net after being played in by Villa captain Roger Dempston, while United never really looked like threatening the Aston Villa goal. Towards the end of the game, Sag Aloo accidentally caught Valeri Larutzov with his boot as the Russian goalkeeper bravely dropped on a loose ball, resulting in Larutzov requiring several minutes of treatment. He attempted to carry on, but was soon replaced by Angus McGulloch (United manager Rob McGulloch's grandson). Jordan Odemwingie pulled a goal back for United in the final minute, but it was too little, too late for the Red Devils, who swapped places with Aston Villa in the league table, dropping back to fourth.
The club's next fixture was a home game against Fulham on 12 November. Despite being without the injured Colin, Robbie Stack and Louis Ratsiraka, United took the lead just three minutes into the match, with Ciaran Bleurgh hitting a dipping and swerving free kick past Dale Chandley in the middle of the Fulham goal. United's second goal came in stoppage time at the end of the first half; Sag Aloo ghosted through the Fulham defence and, with four defenders in close proximity, hit a powerful left-footed shot into the top corner of the net. Just minutes into the second half, United scored their third goal after Ritchie Maccler controlled Lennox Federith's cross with the outside of his foot before volleying home. In the 84th minute, Jordan Bandhoo picked up the ball on the edge of the centre circle in Fulham's half, played a one-two with Ewood Alverston and unleashed a swerving shot from 30 yards for his first Manchester United goal in his Premier League debut for the club. Five minutes later, Bleurgh scored from another free kick to round off a 5–0 victory for the home side. The result moved United up to third place.
United then travelled to Anfield to play rivals Liverpool on 19 November. The tie ended a scoreless draw. The Reds' next match took them to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur on 27 November. The lone goal of the match came to United when a Sag Aloo shot rebounded off Spurs keeper Jaagup Klavan and was put in the back of the net by Louis Ratsiraka. Six days later, United faced Sunderland at home, with United winning thanks to Robert Jilénz's goal in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
United's next match was against Newcastle United at St James' Park on 10 December. Despite chances for both sides, Newcastle keeper Tobias Kentucky and Xavier Reagan kept clean sheets for both sides. United then closed out the year with 1–0 wins over Fulham at Craven Cottage on 23 December and at home against Plymouth Argyle three days later, with Yannick Steichen scoring against Fulham and Ritchie Maccler scoring against Plymouth.
United started 2009 with a crucial 3–0 win over Arsenal, putting them 1 point behind Arsenal and 5 points behind Chelsea, but they did have two games in hand. McGulloch surprised the crowd by starting Robbie Stack ahead of Sag Aloo in central midfield, and the move paid off as Stack was instrumental in the win. Both teams attacked in the first half, but forced few saves from either goalkeeper for the opening 30 minutes. In the 45th minute Louis Ratsiraka nudged the ball onto the pitch from a corner kick, before sauntering off, allowing Robbie Stack to stroll casually over as if he was supposed to take the corner all along. Then, as Arsenal's players arranged themselves, presuming the ball to be out of play, Stack crossed to Bleurgh, who headed the ball home. However, the goal was disallowed. United retook the corner and scored through Maccler's flick-on to Jilénz, who headed it in. Ratsiraka stabbed the ball into the net after 63 minutes from a Jordan Olaf Riise cross and a Bleurgh backheel, while Maccler completed the rout in the 86th minute from a cross from a Bleurgh free kick.
Following the win over Arsenal, United's next game was at home to rivals, Manchester City. Ratsiraka scored from less than six yards after just 54 seconds on a cross from Bleurgh, but hobbled off with a hamstring injury just a few minutes later. Steichen, who replaced Ratsiraka, had a good chance after 20 minutes, rounding Zglaslow Volek in the City net, but his touch was too heavy and he failed to convert the chance. City improved after the disastrous start, but neither side could find a goal and the match ended 1–0 to United. With this result, United climbed to 2nd (their highest position of the season so far) above Arsenal. They remained 2 points behind Chelsea, but having played one game fewer than the Londoners.
The Reds then travelled the short distance to Wigan's JJB Stadium on 14 January. Both sides remained scoreless after 89 minutes, with Wigan keeper Marcus Taleby making several terrific saves and Reagan challenged by a Mo Caldwell long-range shot. Finally, Maccler headed in a Steichen cross in the 90th minute. With the victory, United gained three points, enough to reach the top spot of the Premier League table. This was the first time United had returned to the top spot since winning the 2015–16 Premier League title on 8 May 2016.
After a week off for domestic cup involvements, United returned to league action on 24 January with an away fixture at Blackburn Rovers. Despite having several players out through injury, Rob McGulloch was able to name a fairly strong starting XI, including a fit-again Colin, starting his first match since the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup Final in December. Both sides started the match in an attacking mindset, with United posing the slightly greater threat, and it was they who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Ritchie Maccler; the Saint Lucian exchanged passes with Sag Aloo before firing across Max Dustbin into the far corner of the Blackburn goal. Shortly before half-time, the Rovers were reduced to ten men when John Smith was shown a straight red card for an innocuous-looking foul on Noel Jordan. Their misery was compounded with almost the last kick of the half as Dustbin failed to hang on to a Robbie Stack free kick, dropping the ball at the feet of Yannick Steichen, who lashed it home with his left foot. Robert Jilénz added a third on the hour mark with a header from Stack's corner, before Stack set up another for Ciaran Bleurgh five minutes later. Bleurgh completed the scoring in the 73rd minute, shooting through Dustbin's legs after being put through by Maccler, despite the Blackburn players' protests that both Maccler and Bleurgh had been offside during the build-up to the goal. The win took United three points clear of Chelsea, who were not to play until the following day.
For their next game, Manchester United hosted Everton, winning 1–0. The first half was largely dominated by United, who saw strikes from Noel Jordan and Yannick Steichen stopped by goalkeeper Wayne Ferdinand, while Ciaran Bleurgh hit the inside of the post with Ferdinand beaten. The breakthrough came at the end of the first half, as Sag Aloo made his way into the box before being tripped by Harry Gudjonnson. Aloo attempted to stay on his feet, but when United were unable to gain an advantage, refere Ezra Davis pointed to the penalty spot; Bleurgh converted the resulting penalty kick to open the scoring. During the second half, Aloo looked to have won another penalty for United when he was knocked to the ground by Kevin Postman, but Davis turned away the Red Devils' appeals. Xavier Reagan was forced into a save from a 30-yard free kick by Gudjonnson on the hour mark, but the shot never looked to be seriously troubling the goalkeeper. United continued to hold on for another 1–0 win to take them five points ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal, who were to play each other the following day. Chelsea won the match 2–0 with two late goals from Isaac Menlaux, which closed the gap between themselves and United to two points, although they had now played one more match than United.
Chelsea returned to the top of the table with a 3–2 away win over Oldham Athletic on 4 February, but they remained there for less than 24 hours as United recorded a 1–0 away win over Cardiff City to restore their two-point lead. Cardiff came into the game off the back of a six-game unbeaten run, and it was they who had the better of the early chances; first, Harry Fast had a shot from the edge of the area stopped by Xavier Reagan, who then denied Warren Hyste as the English striker attempted to chip him from just inside the box. United settled into their characteristic passing rhythm, but the two sides went into half-time still at 0–0. Halfway through the second half, Robbie Stack picked up a pass from Sashca Züberbuhler out on the left wing. He then took the ball round a sliding Warren Hyste and cut into the box, before curling a shot through a narrow gap and past Jordan Venables' outstretched left hand for the first goal of the game. Ciaran Bleurgh was denied a penalty in the dying minutes of the game after he was tripped by Harry Fast, and then he smashed a free kick into the chest of Scott Williams, but there were no further goals and United returned to the top of the table.
As a result of their qualification for the 2016 UEFA Super Cup, United's home fixture against West Ham United, which was originally scheduled for the weekend of 27/29 August 2008, was eventually played on 15 February 2017. United went into the match, their game in hand over second-placed Chelsea, two points ahead of the Londoners and could extend their lead to five points with a win over West Ham. With this in mind, the Red Devils started well, and opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Sascha Züberbuhler; Sag Aloo picked out Züberbuhler just outside the area with a pinpoint corner, and the midfielder volleyed the ball goalwards. West Ham goalkeeper Matt Radley got down to stop the shot, but the spin and pace on the ball took it over the line. Yannick Steichen had a "goal" ruled out for offside shortly after, before a Ritchie Maccler strike was blocked on the line by Thomas Milner, but the Saint Lucian did end up doubling United's tally shortly before the half-hour, stealing in ahead of Radley to convert a square cross from United captain Stuart Pantner. Maccler had the ball in the net again on the stroke of half-time, but he was deemed to have been offside in the build-up. Louis Ratsiraka, returning from a seven-game absence due to a hamstring injury, was introduced on the hour, and scored with his first touch, poking home Noel Jordan's misdirected shot across goal. Tobias Leetmaa came close to ending United's run of clean sheets in the closing stages, but his shot went narrowly wide and United held on to win 3–0.
The following weekend presented United with an opportunity to stretch their lead over Chelsea to eight points, as United played against Bolton Wanderers on the Saturday, while Chelsea would not play Tottenham Hotspur until the Sunday. With one eye on the Champions League first knockout round tie against Barcelona the following Tuesday, Rob McGulloch rested Xavier Reagan and Robert Jilénz, and played Danny Kabana and Abraham Vanderbilt in their stead. Despite the defensive shake-up, United had the better of the early chances, with both Züberbuhler and Bleurgh going close before Noel Jordan put Louis Ratsiraka through for the first goal in the 23rd minute. The English winger curled a through-pass round the back of the Bolton defence, and although Brian Wellington got a toe to the ball, it was not enough to take it away from Ratsiraka, who poked it past Kieran Xanthia in the Bolton goal. However, the lead only lasted nine minutes, as Bolton became the first team in more than 22 hours of football (1,334 minutes) to breach the Manchester United defence; after catching Jordan in possession, Tobías Iniesta played a through ball to Jordan Feeny, who took the ball round the sliding Colin and Danny Kabana and shot home from a narrowing angle. Abraham Vanderbilt looked to have restored United's lead on the stroke of half-time, but his header was ruled out after the referee deemed Ciaran Bleurgh to have impeded Brian Wellington. Wellington himself almost gave Bolton the lead shortly after the break, but his effort came back off the post, and the follow-up strike from Bolton captain Alex Brunkin was saved by Kabana. In the end, though, it was United who regained the lead in the 60th minute; the Red Devils were awarded a free kick wide to the left of the penalty area, and, as usual, Ciaran Bleurgh stepped up to take it. Despite it looking like the angle was too narrow to strike at goal, the Irishman hit a characteristic dipping shot over the wall and over the head of Kieran Xanthia to make the score 2–1. The scoreline remained the same for the next half-hour, and although it looked like Mort McCulloch may have been pulled back by Jordan Odemwingie in the penalty area late in the game, the referee deemed it not to be a foul and United held on for the win.
United's next game was played away against Carlisle United. Reagan was back in goal, having missed the previous two games (the League game against Bolton and the Carling Cup Final against Liverpool). However, his clean sheet run finally came to an end after just 9 minutes as Teemu Hyypiä opened the scoring for Carlisle. Ollie Framston should have put Carlisle 2–0 up, but he slid his shot wide and was made to pay as Louis Ratsiraka slotted home mid-way through the first half, which ended 1–1. The game was slightly marred by two questionable challenges, late in the first half, by Carlisle's Mark Nix, who first appeared to hit Ciaran Bleurgh with his arm and then, moments later, slid a dangerous tackle in on Sag Aloo. However, despite some anger from players such as Colin and Louis Ratsiraka, Nix only received a single yellow card. The second half started brightly, and Ritchie Maccler scored what proved to be the winner just before the hour mark after Nix mis-hit a back-pass. Neither team could manage another goal and the game ended 2–1 to Manchester United.
The Reds' next Premier League encounter saw the visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford which brought the two main title contenders head-to-head. United started the match brightly and took the lead on 23 minutes when Noel Jordan was brought down in the penalty area by Larry Crust and referee Leo Wingford pointed to the spot, where Ciaran Bleurgh converted the penalty kick to Crust's right. The lead only lasted 5 minutes though as Robert Jilénz failed to deal with a long ball from Chelsea's Jordan Halantov and Isaac Menlaux punished his error, with a cool finish past United goalkeeper Xavier Reagan. The match went from bad to worse for the hosts just before the break when Jordan Olaf Riise tripped Chelsea captain Jack Redford in the penalty area and Redford scored the resulting spot kick. After the break United drove at Chelsea in an attempt to find an equaliser, but Jilénz was sent off after hauling down Redford on the edge of the penalty area and Garesh Sarudu scored the free kick to give Chelsea a 3–1 lead. In injury time Toraidio Hernández compounded United's misery by chipping Reagan to score Chelsea's fourth and close the gap at the top of the table to four points.
United suffered a further setback when they lost their next League encounter against West Ham United 2–0 at the Boleyn Ground, seeing the team's lead in the league cut to only a point. Sascha Züberbuhler was sent off in the 18th minute for handling the ball on the goal-line and Tobias Leetma scored the resulting penalty. Despite strong pressure from United in the second half, following an unconvincing first half display, Horacio Tabéla scored a second goal for West Ham to seal the match. Louis Ratsiraka was also dismissed for two bookable offences and would subsequently miss the next match.
On 5 April, after an international break, United got back to winning ways by defeating rivals Liverpool 3–2 at home. Ciaran Bleurgh scored an early first-half goal to give United the lead, only for Doonald Arksov and Tobias Fontér to put Liverpool 2–1 in front. With United looking to avoid a third straight league defeat, Bleurgh scored an equaliser on 80 minutes to set-up a frantic finale to the match. A late injury time winner by debutant Eugene McLaughlin won the match for United and took them back to the top of the league, after Chelsea had briefly led, having beaten West Ham United 1–0 the day before.
The Reds' next game was away to a struggling Sunderland, which they won 2–1 thanks to another Eugene McLaughlin goal. United took the lead through Sascha Züberbuhler' looping header from Louis Ratsiraka's cross on 19 minutes but Sunderland equalised on 55 minutes through Edgaras Flaviaras' bundled finish. United had created a few good chances to double their lead before Sunderland's goal, with Züberbuhler and Ratsiraka both shooting narrowly wide. However, with Sunderland trying to hold-on to a precious point, McLaughlin was introduced and within seconds had put United ahead. Sag Aloo had taken a shot which looked to be going wide, but McLaughlin was in the box, alongside other players, and he flicked his left foot towards the ball, directing it into Quentin Rouceard's bottom corner to give United the win and put them back to the top of the table again.
Chelsea's 4–4 draw with Aston Villa on 19 April returned the Londoners to the top of the table, but only on goal difference, with United having two games in hand on their rivals. United had the chance, 24 hours later, to retake top spot with a home game against Oldham Athletic. United did not start very well and Oldham took the early possession, but following a good through-ball from Sascha Züberbuhler, Robbie Stack crossed for Louis Ratsiraka to score past Rodney McDonald to put United 1–0 up after just nine minutes. The remainder of the first half saw United squander a number of chances, the best of which being a goal-line clearance from a Jordan Boateng header. Oldham improved in the second half, although Xavier Reagan was rarely troubled. It took until the 82nd minute for substitute Sag Aloo to score from a perfect through-ball from Riki Asteerev. The second goal effectively killed the game and United finished comfortable 2–0 winners, taking them three points ahead of Chelsea.
United welcomed the visit of Newcastle United to Old Trafford for their next game, knowing that they had slipped down to second in the league on goal difference after Chelsea had beaten Queens Park Rangers earlier in the day. What the Reds didn't welcome, however, was being 2–0 down at half-time, with Norman Gunn and Tobías González having taken advantage of two showings of poor defending by United. Gunn scored from close range just before the half-hour mark, heading home a Jope Aranula cross, having got the better of Colin. Within two minutes, González had doubled Newcastle's lead, scoring close in after a cross from Newcastle captain Matthew Addlesley had beaten Colin. After an uncharacteristically tame first half from United's perspective, they started the second half better, with Yannick Steichen replacing Ross Squareford during the interval. United got a goal back twelve minutes after the restart, via a controversial penalty. Sag Aloo was fed through into the box, only to be brought down by Tobias Kentucky. Replays showed that Kentucky actually touched the ball but despite the keeper's protests, referee George Hogbin pointed to the spot. Ciaran Bleurgh stepped up and dispatched the penalty down the centre of the goal. Ten minutes later, Louis Ratsiraka equalised in a less debatable fashion, hitting in a shot at Gomes' near post after Ritchie Maccler and United captain Stuart Pantner had combined well. Only one minute after equalising, United were ahead. Ratsiraka created some space down the left wing and crossed the ball in to find Bleurgh's diving header. The comeback looked to be complete three minutes later when United went 4–2 up, with Ratsiraka's shot only just crossing the line despite Craig McNamara trying his best to keep it out with his torso. The Reds' onslaught had stunned Newcastle and to add insult to injury, Maccler scored United's fifth eight minutes after Ratsiraka's second. The Saint Lucian's initial header was saved by Kentucky but he followed it up and poked the ball in with his boot. A very important comeback put them three points ahead of Chelsea with five games left.
Plymouth Argyle were up next for United, at Home Park. A usually tricky game for the Reds ended with a comfortable 2–0 away win, thanks to goals either side of half-time. Robbie Stack opened the scoring. Stack received the ball from Robert Jilénz, steadied himself, and slotted it past Lenny Roberts' left hand from the edge of the area with 25 minutes played. United created a handful of chances in the remainder of the first half but none worried Plymouth's Canadian keeper. Noel Jordan doubled the Reds' lead though shortly after half-time. Stack and Eugene McLaughlin combined with a one-two before Louis Ratsiraka threaded a pass through the Plymouth defence to find Jordan superbly. Jordan then settled the game with a decisive strike low into the bottom corner.
For their next game, United welcomed Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Again, Chelsea were top of the table on goal difference, with United having two games in hand. The match was slow and had few shots on target from either side, although United ran out 2–0 winners, with both goals coming in the first half. Ciaran Bleurgh got United's first with a deflected free kick after Spurs' Jordan Friedel had fouled Ritchie Maccler 25 yards out. On the stroke of half-time, Yannick Steichen got United's second, hitting the post on the way, after Maccler had brilliantly controlled Riki Asteerev's long ball before setting-up the Luxembourgian just outside the box. This was Steichen's first league goal of the season at Old Trafford. The second half was fairly forgettable, with few points of note. Marjek Purtjae blazed well wide from a good position for Spurs, while Steichen hit the post from a matter of inches late on. The only other talking point was the angry reaction of Bleurgh to being substituted with over half an hour to play. The result left United needing just four points from their last three games to win a seventh consecutive title.
United gained three of those points away to rivals Manchester City three days later, when Sag Aloo's left-footed shot found the back of the net in the eighty-sixth minute. City had almost gone in front within 90 seconds of the start, when Tobías Tabéla was clean through, but shot wide of the goal. United then missed two chances in a minute when both Aloo and Louis Ratsiraka could not get the ball on target. City captain Jüspär Pérlî opened the scoring in the 28th minute, when he hit a shot past Xavier Reagan at the near post. By half time, United had not managed a single shot on target, despite heavily dominating the possession. Yannick Steichen was brought on for Sascha Züberbuhler early in the second half and did not disappoint, scoring a goal with a back-heeled deflected shot from Sag Aloo just three minutes after coming on. Not satisfied with a draw, United continued to press and Aloo's late shot through traffic put the Red Devils within one point of sealing the Premier League title, being now six points clear of second-placed Chelsea with two games to go, although the Londoners had a better goal difference and neither team had any games in hand.
On 13 May, United successfully defended their Premier League title for the sixth year running with a 0–0 draw at home to Aston Villa. Villa took the game to United, although fighting only for pride as their league position was already secured, and if it were not for some good defending by United, they could have taken the lead. Louis Ratsiraka could have put United ahead, but his first-half header went wide of Angus McGulloch's post. The Reds had a well-worked Noel Jordan goal disallowed for an incorrect offside later in the second half. The Englishman had slotted the ball into an empty net after playing a one-two with Ciaran Bleurgh, but the Irishman was judged to have been ahead of the last defender when Jordan played the ball through. When the final whistle blew, the United players, manager and backroom staff celebrated jubilantly, and rightly so, being crowned champions of England for the 25th time.
United's final game of the Premier League, played on 21 May, was away to Queens Park Rangers. It did not matter if United lost, as they had already been crowned champions of England just less than a week earlier. QPR escaped relegation thanks to Carlisle's loss at Liverpool and Plymouth's defeat to Cardiff. Brandon Jones' 20-yard shot was enough to give United victory in a 1–0 win.
Manchester United entered the 2016-17 FA Cup at the Third Round stage, and werer paired with Crewe Alexandra at the draw on 27 November 2016. The match was played at Old Trafford on 31 December 2016, and ended 1–1. Alex bossed the first half-hour of the match, with Jordanas Zaliukas heading against the post and Dan Gaspar testing Danny Kabana with a 35-yard shot. The Red Devils opened the scoring, though, in the 31st minute. Jordan Odemwingie ran down the right wing, and shot towards goal; Crewe goalkeeper Tommy Burton stuck out a foot to block Odemwingie's shot, but the shot ricochetted off Yannick Steichen's shorts (the Luxembourg striker was tying his shoelaces) and into the net, wrong-footing Burton. The goal then sparked United to become the better team, with Steichen seeing three long-shots saved, Ritchie Maccler hitting the bar, and Kawashito Kawashima testing Burton with a diving header. Robbie Stack also hit the inside of the post before Alex equalized in the last minute, through on-loan striker Vaino Tangepera. The Estonian recieved a spectular pass from Byron Diar, before beating United captain Stuart Pantner and slotting home past Kabana to force a replay at Gresty Road.
The Gresty Road replay was played on 11 January 2011. Alex started well, and were rewarded in the 16th minute when Dan Gaspar headed home Byron Diar's cross to deservedely put the home side in front. After Manchester United's Riki Asteerev was booked, Sascha Züberbuhler equalized on the stroke of half-time with a fabulous backheel from Noel Jordan's low cross. In the 60th minute, United took the lead through Yannick Steichen, when his bicycle kick rocketed into the net with Crewe 'keeper Tommy Burton beaten. In the 78th minute, Kawashito Kawashima made it 3–1 to the Red Devils, firing home a rebound after a shot from Jordan hit the post. In the final minute, an Asteerev free kick rounded off the show and sent United through to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.
The draw for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup took place on 1 January 2017, and paired Manchester United with Championship side West Bromwich Albion. The match took place on 21 January 2017 at Old Trafford, and United won 3–1. Sascha Züberbuhler opened the scoring for United with a diving header, but Sam Bolton equalized for the Baggies with a cheeky backheel. United regained the lead through a Züberbuhler bicycle kick, and Riki Asteerev scored a free-kick to round off a 3–1 win for the home side.
The draw for the Fifth Round of the FA Cup took place on 22 January 2017, and gave Manchester United an away tie with Championship side Sheffield United. The game took place on 11 February 2017, and United won 3–1. Toby Tranent opened the scoring for the Blades in the 69th minute with a bicycle kick. Ciaran Bleurgh equalized with a header from Jordan Odemwingie's cross, and gave United the lead with a header from Noel Jordan's corner. In the last minute, Bleurgh completed his hat-trick, after Jordan's cross deflected off Erni Tholja, allowing Bleurgh to head home and put Manchester United into the sixth round.
The draw for the Sixth Round of the FA Cup took place on 12 February 2017, and Manchester United were given an away tie with Championship side Reading. The game took place on 4 March 2017, and United won 2–0. Louis Ratsiraka opened the scoring with just 5 minutes played, heading home Yannick Steichen's cross. A drive from Sascha Züberbuhler crashed off the crossbar and Ratsiraka hit the post as United created numerous chances. In the 55th minute, a shot from defender Lennox Federith was deflected in by Tony Tanderson to seal a win for the Red Devils.
The draw for the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup took place on 5 March 2017, and paired Manchester United with fellow Premier League side Chelsea. The game took place on 16 April 2017, and United won 2–1. Toradio Hernández opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a bicycle kick, but Ciaran Bleurgh equalized with a cheeky backheel. Louis Ratsiraka's header won the game for United and put them through the FA Cup Final.
In the FA Cup Final, played on 27 May 2017, saw United face Everton. United got off to a nightmare start, as former Red Carsten Schicker opened the scoring for Everton with just 25 seconds played. Wálter Ezaldo's cross was only half-cleared by Ross Squareford, and Jordán Aricoñias headed down for Schicker to smash past Danny Kabana. United equalized on 21 minutes, when Ciaran Laing, who was completely unmarked, ran on to Riki Asteerev's pass and, from his inviting cross, Louis Ratsiraka rose above Kevin Postman to power home his header. Riki Asteerev gave United the lead with what was to be United's winner, smashing a 25-yard shot past Wayne Ferdinand with 18 minutes remaining. Laing could have sealed the win when his spetacular long-range shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar and over the line, but it was incorrectly ruled out. Still, United held on to win the Cup and the Double.
Football League CupEdit
The draw for the Third Round of the Football League Cup took place on 27 August 2016, and gave Manchester United an away tie with fellow Premier League side Carlisle United. The match took place on 20 September 2016. United had the better chanches in the first chance, with Ciaran Laing's fantastic free-kick hitting the crossbar and Valerson's long-shot being padded down by Jay Gordon. The Reds took the lead on 62 minutes, when Ciaran Cristie nodded home a cross from Laing. Four minutes later, Toby Winton volleyed home in off the underside of the crossbar from 25 yards after Lennox Federith's nod-back. Carlisle pulled a goal back in the 90th minute when Jarod Flickadicker tapped in from 3 yards, but that proved to only be a consolation, as Manchester United progressed through.
The draw for the Fourth Round took place on 24 September 2016, and gave Manchester United a home tie with fellow Premier League side and rivals Chelsea. The game took place on 9 November 2016, and United won 4–2. United opened the scoring after 23 minutes, when Ciaran Laing volleyed through a ruck of players from 25 yards. 11 minutes later, Chelsea equalized when Xavier Adams weighed up his angles and slotted a low shot inside Danny Kabana's left-hand post. Four minutes before half-time, Chelsea took the lead, when Gerald Lugano's 20-yard shot trundled through the legs of Kabana. United thought they had equalized seven minutes into the second half, only for Ciaran Cristie's strike to be incorrectly chalked off for offside. However, three minutes later, Ritchie Maccler's penalty levelled matters. The Saint Lucia forward scored his second on 67 minutes, heading home a cross from Laing. In injury time, after Chelsea's Percy Killervill had been sent off, Maccler completed his hat-trick and sealed the win, meeting Sascha Züberbuhler's cross to volley past Aslan Osman from close range.