Manchester United: Current Squad Have a Long Way to Go to Match 1999 Success

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterFebruary 17, 2013

Manchester United: Current Squad Have a Long Way to Go to Match 1999 Success

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    Sir Alex Ferguson has told reporters that his current Manchester United squad are stronger than the 1999 Treble-winning side, as BBC Sport reported.

    United had finished the previous season watching Arsenal win the Premier League and FA Cup Double, and were determined to wrest back the silverware from Arsene Wenger's clutches.

    The Old Trafford succeeded in style and added numerous highlights during the 1998-99 campaign for supporters to relive.

    Ferguson may disagree, but the current squad has some way to go before it can come close to matching the following highlights from the Class of 1999.

Manchester United 2 Leicester City 2

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    Manchester United might have been determined to win back the Premier League title from Arsenal, but an inauspicious start to the campaign offered little encouragement.

    Leicester City were on the rise under manager Martin O'Neill, and went ahead after just seven minutes into the new season through Emile Heskey. Tony Cottee added a second score with just 14 minutes left.

    However, United substitute Teddy Sheringham put the team back in the game before David Beckham's superb last-minute free-kick denied the Foxes a second successive win at Old Trafford.

Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester United 8

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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the star of the show as Manchester United ran Nottingham Forest ragged at the City Ground in February 1999.

    The Norwegian striker came off the bench to fire home four goals in the last 10 minutes after Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole had each scored twice.

    For the record, Forest defender Alan Rogers scored the home side's only goal, but it would not be the last time Solskjaer would make his mark late in a game after coming off the bench.

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1 (aet), FA Cup Semifinal Replay

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    Manchester United and Arsenal played out, quite possibly, one of the greatest cup semifinals when they met in the 1999 replay at Villa Park.

    After a 0-0 draw in the first game, David Beckham put United ahead before Dennis Bergkamp equalized for the holders.

    Nicolas Anelka saw his goal disallowed before Roy Keane was dismissed for a second bookable offense.

    Bergkamp then saw a late penalty saved by Peter Schmeichel after Phil Neville fouled Ray Parlour inside the area, but the best was yet to come.

    Ryan Giggs collected a stray pass from Patrick Vieira on the halfway line before dribbling around the Gunners' back line and firing past David Seaman. The goal is still remembered in song by United supporters.

    Giggs' goal was the last ever scored in an FA Cup semifinal replay with second matches abandoned for the following season.

Manchester United 2 Newcastle United 0, FA Cup Final

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    Manchester United had already won the Premier League when they clashed with Newcastle United in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on May 22, 1999.

    Teddy Sheringham, who had only been on the field for three minutes after replacing the injured Roy Keane, opened the scoring for Sir Alex Ferguson's team when he slid the ball under Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper after collecting a pass from Paul Scholes in the 11th minute.

    Eight minutes after the interval, Scholes sealed the win from a Sheringham pass, and the second part of the Treble was completed.

Bayern Munich 1 Manchester United 2, Champions League Final

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    The 1999 Champions League final remains one of the most memorable, if only for the final three minutes of the game at Camp Nou Stadium.

    Bayern Munich were ahead after six minutes through Mario Basler's free-kick, a lead they held until near the end of the game when Manchester United substitute Teddy Sheringham flicked Ryan Giggs' shot past Oliver Kahn.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been on the field for just nine minutes after replacing Andy Cole, and was on hand to poke Sheringham's flicked header past Kahn in the Bayern goal.

    The current United squad have an uphill task facing them if they are to match the achievements of the 1998-99 side.