Manchester United Power Rankings: 5 Deadliest Red Devils off of Corner Kicks
The acquisition of Robin Van Persie has been adjudged to be the main reason for Manchester United’s current place at the summit of the Premier League.
But it’s not just the Dutchman’s goals that have helped to launch Sir Alex Ferguson’s men back above their noisy neighbours from across the city.
Van Persie’s mesmeric left foot has also been on set piece duty at Old Trafford since his arrival, and because of this the likes of Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, and a certain Serbian have profited from his services.
But, over the years the club’s success has been built on their dominance from dead ball situations. So to celebrate, here are Manchester United’s five deadliest Red Devils off of corner kicks.
Steve Bruce (1987-1996)
Brian Kidd’s jig and Fergie’s joyous leap onto the Old Trafford turf on April 10 1993, have been etched into United folklore. Losing 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday, after a John Sheridan penalty, Bruce headed in two late goals to keep United on course for their first title in 26 years.
The first was a looping header over Chris Woods from a Dennis Irwin corner, whilst the second was a powerful bullet, despatched after a Gary Pallister delivery had been deflected. The next 20 years could have been so, very different if either had missed.
But Bruce’s most impressive season came in 1990-91 when he scored 19 times total. A record most strikers would be proud of.
Gary Pallister (1989-1998)
A sum of £2.3million was spent to bring Gary Pallister to United from Middlesbrough in 1989, making him the most expensive defender in Britain at the time.
He more than repaid it though, going on play over 400 times for the club and claiming three Premier League titles and FA Cups along the way too.
But his 1996/97 medal will sparkle the brightest, as it was his two goals at Anfield in April of 1997 that helped to secure another title for United. Both came from David Beckham deliveries, and both were the result of the defender’s strength and passion that epitomised his game.
He also notched the equaliser against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-final, deep into extra time, that helped United ultimately progress to Wembley. Just don't ask how the campaign ended though. Stupid Paul Rideout.
Ronny Johnsen (1996-2002)
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A cult hero in Manchester, the Norwegian defender always posed a threat from set pieces, and his return of seven goals in 100 games wasn’t too shabby for a centre-back.
His calmness in the penalty box was also apparent throughout his play on the field, where he slid into any defensive position with aplomb and instantly made a resolute partnership with anyone that he appeared alongside with.
Reliable was his middle name. It probably wasn’t, but you get my drift.
Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009
Yes, the Portugese maestro was dangerous from just about any position on the field, but his heading ability from corners was often downplayed in favour of his various other attributes.
Ronaldo also scored a disallowed header against Chelsea in January 2009 that was chalked off because the referee and linesman failed to keep up with Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs’ ingenuity. His cheeky back-heeled finish past Scott Carson of Aston Villa in 2008 (At 1.57 on the video) showed that he could improvise with his feet in any penalty-box scramble too.
The boy literally had it all. I wonder whatever happened to him?
Nemanja Vidic (2006-Present)
Serbia’s answer to The Big Show, Vidic was probably Genghis Khan in a previous life, and his kamikaze approach to set-pieces have been the cornerstone to United’s revival since his arrival in 2006.
Vidic doesn’t just pop up with the odd goal in a rout, though. Oh no, he scores decisive efforts that have helped to secure trophies for the club. Headers away at Everton in 2007, at home to Chelsea in 2011 and Inter Milan in 2009 have each propelled United to glory.
You have to pity any poor soul who has the responsibility of marking him, don't you?