As Manchester United celebrate in the aftermath of an unprecedented 13th Premier league title under Sir Alex Ferguson, the debate still rages on - is this Ferguson's greatest team ever, or does the class of 1999 still reign supreme?
The team of 2012-2013 have been, in all honesty, unspectacular. There have been very few occasions on which the Theatre of Dreams has been illuminated by breathless, exhilarating football, the sort of which has been seen across Europe, notably Madrid and Munich.
This points to the first argument why this year's team can't be considered as Fergie's finest - their inability to compete with the European elite which in contrast characterised the United team of '99. The Red Devils were comprehensively beaten by Real Madrid in the round of last-16 this year, although some may point to Nani's controversial red card as a defining reason for this premature exit. However, it doesn't take away from the fact that the treble-winning team of '99, who often had their backs against the wall in the European arena, were able to summon a fighting spirit which saw them through the toughest of challenges - a feat which hasn't been particularly prominent in this year's team.
Although, where Ferguson's current crop of players differs from teams of the past is their undoubted strength in depth; Ferguson has been able to call on several world-class players from the bench when the going got tough in this year's campaign.
This is arguably most evident in their lethal strike-force, with options such as Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez and Welbeck, all of whom would be likely to grace any Premier League team. Furthermore, their defence is far more solid than in recent seasons, with Phil Jones and Jonny Evans stepping up their performances to form what may be the central defensive for United in the coming years.
This, coupled with what has probably been Michael Carrick's finest season for Manchester United (evident by his PFA Player of the Year nomination), has provided a seemingly inexhaustible supply of options for Ferguson.
This can be compared to the same treble winning team of '99, who, although in possession of Yorke, Cole, Sheringham and undisputed finest super-sub of all time, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, were forced to field a young Jonathan Greening on the bench for their Champions League final. In essence, they were one injury from fielding a complete novice in what was the biggest match of the season. Its impossible to say that Manchester United didn't deserve to win the title this season - they won the most games, accumulated the most points, and were able to play poorly and still come away with three points.
However, the team of '99 were so full of charisma and excitement that even the most die-hard Arsenal or City fan would have had respect for the way they held their own against Europe's elite and came out on top.
That's why, for me, Ferguson's treble winning team of 1999 is the best team he has formed at United.
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