A lot has changed in the Premier League in the last three years. Chelsea currently lead the top flight with a 100% record from their first four outings, while Manchester United spent over £150m in the transfer window before being able to clinch their first win of the current campaign.
The Blues had made a strong start to life under the Portuguese manager, winning three of their first four matches after being held to a goalless draw by Stoke City on the opening day of the season, while United had picked up all 12 points from their first four matches, which included an 8-2 win over Arsenal.
It took the home side barely seven minutes to break the deadlock, with Chris Smalling the unlikely goalscorer heading in from close range following an Ashley Young free kick.
Petr Cech and David de Gea both had to make a string of saves as both teams pushed for the second goal, but it was Ferguson's side who added to their lead shortly after the half-hour mark when Nani lashed the ball into the top corner.
Villas-Boas's side were punished further before the break as Nani was involved again, this time setting up Wayne Rooney for a tap-in from close range.
It looked like the visitors had a chance to turn things around early in the second half as Fernando Torres, who was then the most expensive player in Britain, scored just moments after the kickoff, making amends for several misses in the first half.
The home side could have put the win beyond doubt just 10 minutes later though as Nani was fouled by Jose Bosingwa, giving Rooney the chance to add his second of the night from the penalty spot, but the England international slipped on his run-up, resulting in the spot kick being missed.
Torres had the opportunity to make the final few minutes uncomfortable for United when he rounded De Gea, leaving himself with an empty goal to shoot at, but the Spaniard somehow managed to force it wide.
With Manchester City slipping up in a 2-2 draw with Fulham on the same day, the result allowed United to open up a two-point gap over their neighbours at the top of the table.
However, Ferguson's side were unable to hold off their rivals in the final moments of the season, as City's last-day victory over Queens Park Rangers ensured that the Premier League trophy headed to the blue half of Manchester for the first time, just six days before Chelsea won the Champions League final.