Quintuple or not, this United team is no match for Class of ‘99By: Rob | March 4th, 2009
Ten years after an incredible Treble victory, Man United are pushing on from a strong position to go one – alright two, if you include the World Club Cup – better, by getting what is being increasingly hyped up as the Quintuple. United have ammassed a great lead now, and it seems that realistically, as commendable as a title charge from either Chelsea or Liverpool would now be, the Prem is United’s to loose.
Still in the FA Cup, and in a Round of 16 Match with Inter Milan in the Champions League, its very much concievable that United could finish the season having won five trophies. It would be a staggering achievement.
But despite what Sir Alex is saying, this current Man United side isn’t really better than the class of 1999. Not yet, anyway.
To be fair, Lord Feg was really just saying that he has more squad depth than he did in 99, citing the fact he had only 19 players to pick from for the Champions League final. However, he did have both Roy Keane and Paul Scholes unavaliable that day.
Anyway, when United completed the Treble, they had to wrestle the Title away from a very good Arsenal team, who finished just one point behind the Champions. They had to beat Arsenal in the FA Cup, and indeed, the Gunners came within a Bergkamp penalty and Ryan Giggs finest moment to make that Wembley date.
In the Champions League, other than a strong Bayern Munich side in the final, they had to get past an excellent Barcelona side in the group (where they were unseeded, and had to play Bayern too) and in the knockouts they had to beat a strong Juventus and Inter Milan.
This United team however will retain a seven point lead in the title race if they beat a struggling Newcastle United side tonight. They will still have a game in hand – and that’s after a loss to Liverpool and a draw with Chelsea this season. They’re coasting to one of the least interesting title races in history – and while they’ve been commendable, they’ve merely been doing what’s needed, only scoring enough goals to win, and have been massively helped by the floundering of their rivals.
If they are to win the Champions League and FA Cup this season, they will probably have to beat some fine opposition to do it. Certainly Inter won’t be pushovers, and Barcelona – despite currently not being in the best form – still look one of the most exciting sides in the world. In the FA Cup they may well draw a newly hungry Chelsea side, or a desperate for silverware Arsenal side. If they do win them, then we can talk. But I’m not entirely convinced.
But talk of them bettering the 1999 side is certainly premature. What that team achieved was absolutely incredible, especially considering the other teams around. If Man United do this quintuple, I’ll be the first to talk about what an incredible achievement it is. But its still a little way off yet.