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Manchester United's 10 greatest ever teams

Sports Mole picks out the 10 greatest teams in the history of Manchester United.

The most successful team in the history of English football, Manchester United have won 20 league titles, 12 FA Cups, five League Cups and three European Cups.

Some of the world's greatest players have turned out for the Red Devils, and it would also be fair to say that the club have had some of the best ever teams in the history of the English game.

The majority of United's success has come in the Premier League era, lifting 13 titles under the great Sir Alex Ferguson, in addition to winning two Champions Leagues with the Scot at the helm.

Sir Matt Busby won 13 trophies during his time as manager, meanwhile, including five First Division titles and the club's first European Cup in 1968.

Here, Sports Mole has picked out what we believe to be the top 10 teams in United's 118-year history, chosen on a season-to-season basis.


Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson pictured before the 1999 Treble Reunion Match on May 26, 2019© Reuters

10. 2002-03 Premier League winners

United won their eighth Premier League title at the end of the 2002-03 campaign, in addition to reaching the final of the League Cup and quarter-finals of the Champions League, only narrowly losing to Real Madrid.

The Red Devils had signed Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United in the summer of 2002, while the season also proved to be David Beckham's last at the club as he joined Real Madrid.

A strong Premier League season saw them top the pile with 83 points from their 38 matches, while it proved to be a stunning campaign for a certain Ruud van Nistelrooy as the Dutchman scored 44 times in all competitions.

Ryan Giggs, Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were also among the goals for the Red Devils, who also had a certain Fabien Barthez between the sticks.

First-choice XI: Barthez; G Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea; Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer


9. 1999-2000 Premier League winners

The season after 1998-99 is not often spoken about as one of the best in United's history, but the club enjoyed an extremely strong Premier League campaign, winning 28 of their 38 matches to finish 18 points clear of second-placed Arsenal at the summit, scoring 97 times in the process.

They only reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but a quiet summer transfer window preceded the season, with only Mark Bosnich, Quinton Fortune, Massimo Taibi and Mikael Silvestre arriving.

Andy Cole scored 22 times during the 1999-20 campaign, Dwight Yorke managed 24, Solskjaer 15, while Roy Keane also contributed 12 goals from the middle of the park.

The team also featured Jaap Stam, undoubtedly one of the best centre-backs in European football at the time, but there were problems in the goalkeeping department following Peter Schmeichel's exit.

First-choice XI: Bosnich; G Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Cole, Yorke


Eric Cantona lifts the Premier League trophy in 1994© Reuters

8. 1995-96 Premier League & FA Cup winners

United won a Premier League and FA Cup double during the 1995-96 campaign, and the success was even more remarkable considering that the likes of Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis had been sold the summer before.

There were no major incomings at the club, with Ferguson instead deciding to promote the likes of Nicky Butt, Beckham, Scholes, Gary Neville and Phil Neville to the senior squad.

Eric Cantona returned from his eight-month suspension to finish as the team's leading scorer with 19 in all competitions, while Schmeichel, Steve Bruce, Keane and Cole also played key roles for Ferguson's side, who had become the first English side to win the double.

First-choice XI: Schmeichel; G Neville, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Butt, Giggs; Cole, Cantona


7. 1966-67 First Division winners

United finished the 1966-67 campaign as league champions for the seventh time in their history but few would have predicted that it would be their last top division title for 26 years.

The Red Devils finished four points clear of second-placed Nottingham Forest at the top of the table, but they failed to make an impression in either the FA Cup or League Cup, exiting in the fourth and second round respectively.

Denis Law ended the campaign with 25 goals in all competitions, while George Best and Bobby Charlton struck 22 between them. David Herd also had a standout campaign as the Scot managed 18 goals in 31 appearances, including 16 in the league - a record only bettered by Law during that particular season.

First-choice XI: Stepney; Brennan, Dunne, Cantwell, Foulkes; Crerand, Stiles, Aston; Best, Charlton, Law


Manchester United lift the 2006-07 Premier League title on May 13, 2007© Reuters

6. 2006-07 Premier League winners

United reclaimed the Premier League title in 2006-07 after three years, ultimately finishing six points clear of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea at the top of the pile.

The Red Devils also reached the final of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Champions League during a successful campaign. Michael Carrick was the only notable summer arrival, but the Englishman played a key role for Ferguson's side, making 48 appearances in all competitions.

Ronaldo and Rooney scored 23 goals apiece in all competitions, while Louis Saha and Solskjaer also managed double figures for the club, who had eight players in the PFA Team of the Year.

First-choice XI: Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney, Saha


5. 1957-58 Busby Babes

The Busby Babes simply had to be included in this selection. Indeed, despite the biggest tragedy in the club's history, a makeshift United side still managed to reach the FA Cup final, in addition to the semi-finals of the European Cup, losing to Italian giants AC Milan.

Their league form suffered after the Munich air disaster as they finished ninth, but there were still a number of outstanding performers, including Dennis Viollet, who ended the season with 23 goals in all competitions.

It has long been said that Duncan Edwards, who passed away aged 21 from the injuries he suffered in the Munich air disaster, could have become one of the best players in the club's history.

First-choice XI: Wood; Byrne, Foulkes, Colman, Edwards; Berry, Charlton, Pegg; Taylor, Viollet, Webster


Manchester United lift the Premier League title at the end of the 2008-09 campaign© Reuters

4. 2008-09 Premier League & League Cup winners

United won a third consecutive Premier League title in 2008-09 to equal Liverpool's record of 18 titles. The Red Devils also again reached the final of the Champions League but were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in Rome.

Dimitar Berbatov arrived from Tottenham Hotspur before the start of the campaign and ended the season with 14 goals in all competitions. Ronaldo again starred with 26 goals, while Rooney managed 20 and Tevez 15, with United once again a serious force in the final third of the field.

Edwin van der Sar, Vidic and Ferdinand again helped the club keep things tight down the other end of the field, and the League Cup was also secured courtesy of a penalty-shootout victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

First-choice XI: Van der Sar; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney


3. 1967-68 European Cup winners

The 1967-68 season will forever be remembered in the history of United as they became the first English side to win the European Cup courtesy of a 4-1 victory over Benfica in the final of the competition.

Led by Busby, the Red Devils finished second in the First Division, two points behind bitter rivals Manchester City, but it was still a wonderful campaign for the club.

Best enjoyed a brilliant season as he scored 32 times in all competitions, winning the European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in the process.

Charlton, Brian Kidd and Law also all scored double figures for the club, while tricky winger John Aston Jr. also contributed 11 goals in all competitions.

First-choice XI: Stepney; Burns, Foulkes, Sadler, Dunne; Crerand, Stiles, Charlton; Best, Kidd, Aston


Ryan Giggs and Manchester United lift the 2007-08 Premier League title on May 11, 2008© Reuters

2. 2007-08 Champions League & Premier League winners

There is no question that the 2007-08 United team was one of the best in the club's history, winning the Premier League title before beating Chelsea on penalties in the 2008 Champions League final.

A certain Ronaldo picked up six individual awards, including the Premier League Golden Boot as he struck 31 times in England's top flight. The Portuguese weighed in with 42 goals in all competitions, meanwhile, as he cemented his spot as one of the best players in world football.

United had arguably the best centre-back partnership in the world at the time in Vidic and Ferdinand, while Evra and Wes Brown were excellent in the full-back positions.

Rooney and Tevez formed a deadly partnership in the final third, meanwhile, as they scored 37 goals between them to supplement Ronaldo's 42.

First-choice XI: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Rooney, Tevez


1. 1998-99 treble winners

It was going to take a special team to keep the 2007-08 side out of first position, and it is very difficult to hand the spot to any team other than the one from the 1998-99 campaign.

A famous treble was secured when they beat Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League, following on from their successes in the Premier League and FA Cup.

United had signed Yorke and Stam before the season begun, and both players were key to the side's success. There is no question that it was a team effort, though, with Ferguson putting together a squad capable of challenging on all fronts, across the board, for the entire campaign.

Yorke and Cole formed arguably the most successful strike partnership in the history of the club, combining for 53 goals in all competitions, but Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham were also vital.

Club captain Keane was at his best in the middle of the park, while Schmeichel's presence between the sticks was imperative to the team enjoying such a famous season.

First-choice XI: Schmeichel; G Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Cole, Yorke


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2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
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5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721

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