How does the current Manchester United team compare to Fergie’s 2013 title-winning team?


Consecutive top-three finishes for Man United show that the club is heading firmly in the right direction. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have his critics (some of whose criticisms are deserved) but he’s arguably assembled the best side since Sir Alex retired in 2013.

But how does the current Man United side stack up to their title winning predecessors of 2013?

Former glory for Man United

Man United easily won the Premier League in Sir Alex’s final season in charge, winning the title by 11 points over Manchester City. That was the only silverware they won that season, though they did suffer an unlucky Champions league exit to Real Madrid.

United finished on 89 points that season, whereas the current side managed 74, 15 less. That represents a clear difference in quality, though they did each concede a similar number of goals in the league (43 and 44).

The 2012/13 side were superior in attack, scoring 86 times compared to the 73 that Man United netted last season.

Similar problems at the back in 2013 and at the present for United

Though the statistics would seem to back up that Fergie’s 2013 vintage was better than the current United side, they do share some similarities. In 2013, an aging backline of Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra meant that United often looked vulnerable in defense, having to be bailed out by their elite attacking talents, especially Rooney and Robin Van Persie.

It could be argued that Man United’s current side were about as good at the back as the 2013 side, until the signing of Varane. Shaw and Wan-Bissaka provide the width and dynamism which Rafael and Patrice Evra did back in 2013, with greater defensive solidity.

Meanwhile, Harry Maguire and Rafa Varane look to be at a level which would come close to the peak of the Ferdinand-Vidic axis, even if not at the same level as those two.

Man United have arguably better goalkeeping options now than they did in 2013: Henderson is a higher quality back-up to De Gea than Anders Lindergaard ever was.

Fergie’s 2013 side a cut above in midfield and attack

The difference is stark in midfield and attack. In 2013, Giggs and Scholes may have been coming to the end of their careers but still contributed whilst Michael Carrick had his best season in a red shirt.

Fred and McTominay would get nowhere near the 2013 Man United side, though Fernandes would definitely get into the first 11. Young, Valencia and Nani provided trickery that can be matched in the current squad with Sancho and Rashford.

A forward line of Rooney, Van Persie and Hernandez blew teams away in 2013, with it often being a case of United simply outscoring the opposition to win due to their leaky defense.

Greenwood and Cavani both had good seasons, but the current Man United side does not possess the elite striker that the 2013 side had in Van Persie. He scored 30 goals in all competitions in his debut season and without him United wouldn’t have won the title.

He was the difference between success and failure and the current Man United side doesn’t have a player of that quality, though Bruno Fernandes is almost there.

Whilst it’s fair to say that the United side of 2012/13 were superior to the current squad, it was an aging side in decline with clear deficiencies. If Sir Alex wasn’t the manager they probably wouldn’t have won the league: finishing 7th next season under David Moyes proved that.

The current United side is young and exciting, yet to reach their full potential. It won’t be too long before they are as good as the United of 2013, which hopefully means the Premier League is finally heading back to Old Trafford.

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