Manchester United’s official website has looked at the club’s achievements during 2016/17, presenting the records that were broken and landmarks that were reached by five different players.
Three summer signings – Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – all made a statistical mark on the club while captain Wayne Rooney became United’s all-time leading goalscorer in memorable fashion and was part of another piece of history when Angel Gomes came on for him in the last league match.
While breaking the global transfer fee record is, of course, a club achievement, there’s no denying Pogba’s presence at the centre of the story. His high-profile switch from Juventus to Manchester United was undoubtedly one of the biggest moments of the 2016/17 campaign and the social-media statistics bear this out. A message which read ‘Home. #Pogback’ and featured a photo of the world’s most expensive player posing confidently in the red shirt remains our Twitter account’s most retweeted post of all time.
Ibrahimovic has had a habit of breaking records throughout his incredible career and he continued in that vein after bringing his supreme talents to Old Trafford in 2016/17. The 35-year-old became the oldest player to score 15 goals in a single Premier League season when he found the net away to Leicester City (3-0 win) in February. But it was on another trip, to Swansea City in November, when he chalked up two milestones in one match – his first goal of the game was the Premier League’s 25,000th and his second, a typically powerful run and finish, was the 400th of his own career. Afterwards, he joked: “I thought it was just me who had scored 25,000!”
A moment which will live long in the memory of every United fan arrived in January 2017. Rooney’s stunning injury-time goal in the 1-1 draw away to Stoke City, direct from a free-kick, rescued a point for the Reds and meant the striker had become the club’s all-time top scorer on 250. Sir Bobby’s incredible record of 249 had stood for over 40 years until Wayne curled home a delightful effort from the edge of the area, with the man he surpassed watching from the stands at Stoke’s stadium. Speaking afterwards, the captain said: “It’s a proud moment for me and a huge honour to get that record. It’s about a career and I still feel there’s a lot more to come, but overall it’s a really proud moment for me.”
United’s final home game of the season – the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League – was a particularly special occasion for the club’s Academy, with eight graduates named in the starting eleven. After Josh Harrop had graced his senior debut with a sublime goal, promising youngster Angel Gomes was given his chance from the bench, replacing skipper Rooney with two minutes of normal time remaining at Old Trafford. At 16 years and 263 days old, Gomes became the Reds’ youngest-ever Premier League player, and the youngest in any competition since the great Duncan Edwards.
Mkhitaryan made history with his goal against Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final. The second strike of the Reds’ 2-0 win in Stockholm, expertly hooked home from Chris Smalling’s downward header following a corner, made our midfield Armenian the first United player to score in five different European games on the road in a single campaign. He had previously found the net in four away fixtures, against Zorya Luhansk, Saint-Etienne, Rostov and Anderlecht, in addition to also scoring in the home leg against Anderlecht. It was a moment which capped a memorable maiden campaign at the club for ‘Micki’, who registered 11 goals in all competitions in total.