Tough to beat the all-star team from 2000 to 2009, especially when the bulk of the previous decade was a carousel of managers with poor results. I wish I could say the flashy signings of the past (i.e. Di Maria & Memphis) made an impact… But the history of those busts speak for themselves.
Old Trafford isn’t for everyone.
As stated in Part 1, players cannot be used in both squads. So you will not see the likes of Rooney, Scholes, Ferdinand, or Giggs who played more of a role at the beginning of the decade.
That all being said, let’s dive in.
My selected formation, 4-2-3-1, is the formation that Ole wants to build towards. Very different style than the 4-4-2, with pace in the attack that shines, especially, in counter attacking football.
Striker: Robin van Persie, Dimitar Berbatov (bench)
Signing RVP is one of my favorite “F-U” signings of all time. I’ve had plenty of Arsenal fans for friends, and seeing their former talisman help secure another League Title for Sir Alex was (and continues to be) priceless.
Berbatov was simply a magician on the pitch. Spectacular first touch. Incredible finishing ability. He made the game looked effortless, and caught plenty of shade at times because of a perceived lack of effort.
100+ goals shared between the two of them in their tenures at Old Trafford is nothing to shake a stick at. Both were incredible for the club, and I’d take either over Lukaku (who’s first touch is rumored to have just touched down on Pluto).
Wingers: Marcus Rashford, Nani, Anthony Martial (bench)
One could make the case that I’m favoring more of today’s squad… But I think its fair considering their quality is a tier above the “Antonio Valencia’s” of the past.
Nani, when lined up on the right, is simply the best winger we saw all decade and isn’t praised enough for his contributions in my opinion. The right wing side of the pitch has been ignored the last few years as priorities have been elsewhere, and hopefully a signing named Sancho can fix that for this decade.
Rashford and Martial are the second coming of Yorke and Cole. Both can be exchanged between the #9 role and wing, terrorizing defenses in the final third. We have yet to see their full potential for various reasons, but I’d pick them over any other wingers from this time.
Midfield: Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard (bench), Marouane Fellaini (bench).
This was a hard group to pick. Not a lot of quality in my opinion, until recently… But technically speaking Bruno was signed in 2020, so he did not make this list. Also, give it a few years, and McSauce will be here as well.
Yes I included Paul Pogba because how could you not. The man was electric when he returned to Manchester, and lit it up again under Ole’s first unbeaten run.
Juan Mata has been quality since joining, providing many of an assist and touch of magic. Matic was also a rock when signing from Chelsea, and brings much needed leadership to the squad.
The 2016 FA Cup replay changed my mind on one of my bench-warmers. Originally I had Lingard and Fred, but looking back at how many times Fellaini provided late winners and assists… he needed to be included. Lingard was also a solid midfielder until his recent collapse of form. Not many other players to pick from here.
Defenders: Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly (bench), Rafael (bench)
Picking defenders was as hard as picking midfielders.
Not being able to include Vidic or Ferdinand here sucked. And the center-backs that have followed were mixed bags of form. One could make the case for Chris Smalling, but Bailly is a beast (when he’s not injured) in the back.
In their short time together, Lindelof and Maguire have been one of the League’s best defensive pairings, providing stability in an area that plagued United for much of the latter part of the decade.
Luke Shaw potentially could’ve made this list if it had not been for the horrific leg injury he suffered. He hasn’t looked the same since, which paves the way for Young here.
AWB has been lights out since signing from Crystal Palace, and is tiers above any other right back United had since the beginning of the decade. One could also make the case here for Antonio Valencia over Rafael.
Goalkeeper: David De Gea, Sergio Romero (bench)
As the Sirs used to say about Rashford stepping up for a pen… Automatic. Not much needs to be discussed or justified here.
One of the best keepers in the world in De Gea, and the best back-up in the world in Romero (who would start on just about any other team might I add).
Done and dusted.
Wrapping this up with my away and third kit choices for my all decade team.
2012 was a great year for kits in my opinion. The away kit was simple white with traces of red… so fresh and so clean. Perhaps I’m bias in owning the RVP jersey from that time (a nice little reminder for my Gunner friends), but I don’t think so.
As much as some of us dislike the Chevy grill gracing the front of United jerseys, the 2015 third was fire. I’m a big fan of black United kits, just not when they have white zebra stripes…
Most of the recent jerseys have been forgettable as well.. Snake skin, pink, that silver fan design… Horrid. The Adidas designers have certainly been on some potent stuff.
Let’s hear your feedback on the team selection! Plenty to debate from the last decade.