In 1999, Manchester United completed a magnificent trophy haul by winning a historic treble. After a fantastic Premier League campaign, United went on to defeat Newcastle in the FA Cup Final and overcome Bayern Munich in the Champions League final with an Ole gunnar Soskjaer injury-time winner, hailed by many as Sir Alex Ferguson's finest hour.
This season, the United boss believes he has a squad capable of repeating that glory all over again. However, many would argue that their edgy defensive issues at times may hinder any treble prospects, but with the creative attacking options available to them, there are clear arguments for both sides.
United have had a nasty tendency of conceding easy goals this season. Teams have found themselves with early leads against United as defensive issues have continued to be a headache for the manager.
Losing Nemanja Vidic early on in September whilst still missing the young duo of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling was a key part of the issues that United faced in defence. This, along with uncertainty over goalkeeper David de Gea meant that even at home, United were guilty of conceding easily to their opponents.
This was made all too evident when Tottenham Hotspur arrived at Old Trafford and took the points with a 3-2 victory, their first at the Theatre of Dreams since 1989. On this occasion Spurs scored as early as the 2nd minute and saw themselves 2-0 up at half time after Gareth Bale had doubled their advantage. A fast start to the second half saw United score twice inside 10 minutes of the restart, only for Clint Dempsey to strike in between either goal to ensure Spurs took a vital victory.
This match highlighted United's defensive woes. However, their attacking threat still remained and although he failed to score in this match, Robin van Persie has been influential into propelling United to the lead they currently have at the top. His goalscoring form has been nothing short of superb and combined with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, it is easy to see why so many are comparing them to the famous frontline of 99.
Some solid central midfield displays from Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, combining with a free roaming Wayne Rooney has seen some great link-up play and even when behind, United have continued to look as if they always have a goal in them.
Recent performances have seen United back to grinding out results and winning ugly, something that they failed to do at the end of last season. Dropping points against the likes of Everton in an incredible 4-4 draw saw Manchester City leapfrog United and take the crown on a dramatic final day. However, in their recent visit to Old Trafford, Everton found themselves 2-0 down at half time despite a solid display and United went on to soak up second half pressure to take all three points.
With their defenders fit and all fighting for places in the side, United will be more confident of keeping clean sheets in their remaining fixtures this season. Some great displays from De Gea have answered many critics that have come his way this season. He played a vital role in United's recent 1-1 draw against Real Madrid and displayed his brilliant reflexes on several occasions that night.
With Van Persie still finding the net regularly and combining well with his fellow strikers, United fans will be full of confidence at present.
Although, repeating that great achievement of the 1998/99 squad will prove a tough test for this United side. With the prospect of Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final and the return leg against Real Madrid at Old Trafford to come in the Champions League, Ferguson will want to see his team carry on their ruthless attacking displays while keeping a tight ship at the back.
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