Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Manchester United are undoubtedly one of the best teams in football history. Till 2013 and under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, United were nearly impossible to defeat. But since his departure, they have just not looked the same.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest football manager in history, led The Red Devils to a total of 38 major trophies including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 Champions Leagues, 10 Community Shields and 1 European Cup Winners Cup, European Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, Fifa Club World Cup each during his 27 year tenure at Old Trafford.
Alex Ferguson departed from Manchester in 2013 winning the last of his 13 Premier League titles. His last game as a United manager came away to West Bromwich Albion in a thrilling 5-5 draw.
David Moyes, the former Everton manager replaced Ferguson in June 2013 for the 2013/14 season. Moyes won The Community Shield in his first competitive fixture for United with a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. Robin Van Persie scored a brace to mark the perfect start of the season for Manchester United.
The celebrations did not last very long as the defending champions lost three of their first six matches in The Premier League. The Scottish manager promised to sign huge stars like Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Cesc Fabregas. On the final day of the January transfer window, their only signing was announced and that was another former Everton player, Marouane Fellaini!!! A huge letdown.
They were soon eliminated from the FA Cup in the third round by Swansea City and from the League Cup by Sunderland losing 2-1 in both fixtures. On the other hand, Champions League went quite well as United finished top of their group with 14 points. They almost went out from the round of 16 as they were beaten by two goals to nil by Olympiacos in the first leg but managed to overturn the deficit and won 3-0 in the second leg to advance to the quarter finals with an aggregate score of 3-2.
However, in the quarter final stage of the competition against Bayern Munich, the German side came out on top denying United a first Champions League semi final since 2011. Being knocked out of Europe meant that, Moyes' side had no chance of any more silverware that season. After European disappointment, United suffered another setback as they fell short in the Premier League at Goodison Park against Everton. This loss left the Manchester United Board with no choice but to sack David Moyes just ten months into a six-year contract. The remaining four league games had to be managed by former United player Ryan Giggs.
With inconsistent performances throughout the season, United fell to one of their worst Premier League positions at seventh place and also failed to qualify for European Football for the first time since 1990.
David Moyes just did not fail to disappoint
Dutch manager, Louis Van Gaal had been given the responsibility to bring United some success after the horrible 2013/14 they had had. Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, all left the club meaning that three crucial defenders were gone. Van Gaal signed Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw in order to strengthen the defence. He also signed top players like Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Memphis Depay who turned out to be total flops despite great seasons at their previous clubs.
United had the worst possible start to the Premier League season they could have imagined as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City. After a long and inconsistent run of ten Premier League games, they then went on a run of ten unbeaten games before losing at home to Southampton.
League Cup round 2 was probably one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of The English giants; a 4-0 thrashing to MK Dons who were a third division team at that time. FA Cup didn't fare very well either as Arsenal knocked out Van Gaal's men in the sixth round (quarter finals). Once again it was confirmed that there was not going to be any silverware success for Man United.
United finished 4th in the League, securing a Champions League spot and that was something fans could cheer on for.
The 2015/16 didn't go much better as far as the League, League Cup and Champions League are concerned but United did lift the FA Cup and it was something they definitely deserved. Despite FA Cup glory, Louis Van Gaal was sacked just two minutes after winning his first trophy for United.
The Special One, Jose Mourinho replaced Van Gaal in the 2016/17 season and won The League Cup, The Europa league and The Community Shield in his first year at Old Trafford. He too signed huge players like Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic which may be considered one of the many reasons behind their success. Though they finished sixth in the league, this season can be considered as a turn around for their recent miseries because Europa League glory meant that CL football was calling.
Man United finished the 2017/18 Premier League season on second place, quite a big boost of confidence. They also managed to reach the final of the FA Cup but were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea via an Eden Hazard penalty. Champions League Round of 16 and League Cup quarter finals were disappointing as Sevilla and Bristol City knocked them out respectively.
The 2018/19 season was mix of highs and lows for The Red Devils. They were knocked out early from The League Cup by Derby County and a loss against their bitter rivals Liverpool in the League led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho, United's third in six years. Club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced The Special One. Finally, it looked like the red side of Manchester were enjoying themselves as Ole won 14 of his first 19 games. They had even managed to pull off an incredible comeback in the round of 16 vs PSG. Yet again, they couldn't hold on to the success. Barcelona and Wolves knocked United out of The Champions League and FA Cup quarter finals respectively. The last matchday of the PL season saw Cardiff City humble the hosts at Old Trafford screwing a CL qualifying spot and finishing sixth.
The 2019/20 season can be considered a great achievement for the whole squad and managerial staff. The signing of Bruno Fernandes was the best decision they've taken in a while. United finished third meaning they will play CL football next season. They had reached the semi finals of both, the FA Cup and League Cup and also look on course to win Europa League this season. Though the competition is only at the round of 16 stage at the moment, it is highly probable that United will go on to win the title.
The last few years have truly turned out to be a turning point for Manchester United. Does this season mean that Man United are finally climbing back the soaring heights that the club once knew?