When David Luiz powered in Chelsea’s third goal of the weekend via an opportune deflection off Rio Ferdinand’s shoulder, even the most optimistic of United supporters would have to be forgiven for at least contemplating the “L” word.
Yet, with a tenacity that in truth typifies Sir Alex Ferguson’s Old Trafford reign, the champions showed title credentials with a thrilling come-from-behind snatch and grab, leaving Stamford Bridge with a point.
The point, while not ideal, could have ramifications that transcend the literal. As Wayne Rooney himself put it: “That could be the point that wins us the league."
However, to overturn the two-point deficit they now have to endure over the noisy neighbours, United will have to rely on that mental fortitude and winning mentality again.
Here are ten key games that could go a long way to defining the 2011/12 season for Manchester United.