The Treble Winners versus the Invincibles; who did it Best?

On one side, Arsene Wenger lifting the invincibles trophy, on the other, Ferguson posing with the treble trophies.

English football had one of the fiercest rivalries around the beginning of the 21st century. Two clubs had carved out a niche in the elite category courtesy of their managers and style of play. They amassed trophies at will and set unique records only held by the two specific clubs. While one won the impressive Treble, the other won a trophy currently considered impossible to lift, the Golden EPL trophy (the invincibles). Indeed Manchester United and Arsenal gifted the EPL fans an unforgettable era of entertaining English football. Despite both groups winning their accolades impressively, some fans still decide whose feat was more memorable. Before deciding who did it best, let us examine both teams and how they ran their games.

The outlook and quality of both the Treble winners and the Invincibles

Both teams comprised two elite managers, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, famously referred to as the Professor. Before taking over their respective clubs, both managers had shown promise in their respective clubs before being given the jobs. They took over the clubs with the zeal to improve the legacies already made by Manchester United and Arsenal. Despite having their unique tactics, both managers wanted their teams to be possession based and dominant over their opponents. 

David Beckham holding the Champions League trophy. He setup Teddy Sheringham in the dying seconds of the Champions League final
David Beckham holding the Champions League trophy. He setup Teddy Sheringham in the dying seconds of the Champions League final. Photo Credits: Manchester United

The quality of the midfield

They, therefore, ensured that their midfielders were full of quality to run their games perfectly. The treble winners had the no-joke Roy Keane as their central defensive midfielder. He was backed up by the sharp-shooting Paul Scholes and the free-kick specialist David Beckham. Academy coach Nicky Butt completed this midfield four that collected the three trophies in the 1998/99 season. 

The Invincibles had Patrick Vieira as their captain and defensive midfielder. The Frenchman was known for his bullish style of play that made opponents shudder with fear whenever playing against him. He played with Robert Pires and former manager Fredrick Ljungberg. Current sporting director Edu also played a crucial role in shaping this midfield that went 38 games unbeaten in EPL. Their midfield was physical and creative, taking points from other clubs at will.

The intimidating shot-stoppers

The treble winners had the gigantic Peter Schmeichel as their showstopper. The Dane intimidated strikers with his big body size and made several crucial saves that won United games. On the other hand, Jens Lehmann was at his best during their golden EPL campaign. He kept 15 clean sheets and was one of the goalkeepers who won the golden gloves that season. The goalkeeping docket, therefore, played a crucial role in ensuring both clubs achieved their feats.

The walls that secured trophies

A famous football quote by Sir Alex Ferguson goes, attack wins you games, and defense wins you titles. This could be one reason he ensured he formed a wall in his defense that proved a hard nut to crack. Denis Irwin and Jaap Stam combined with the Neville brothers forming a wall that proved a menace to opponents. The three trophies testify to how good that defense must have been.

The Gunners utilized the services of Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Sol Campbell, and Kolo Toure. The likes of Keown, Cygan, and Lauren also played a crucial role in delivering the unique piece of silverware home. This respected defense ensured that Arsenal went unbeaten for 38 Premier League games. 

Attacks full of talent

The attacks of these two clubs during their respective seasons were firing from all fronts. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole accounted for at least 35 of Manchester United’s premier league goals. Despite being a substitute in most games, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also played a crucial role in both the EPL and champions league. 

The London greats had the talented Denis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, who entertained the 2003/04 season and left the fans with great memories. Reyes, Wiltord, and Kanu also made an indelible mark in the hearts of the fans with some crucial goals. This attack will consistently rank as one of the best the Arsenal fans experienced at Highbury.

Both attacks were highly rated and definitely deserved to achieve their individual successes. Regarding squad quality, both clubs were well-equipped with enough firepower to win trophies. None of them had a deficient squad.

Individual Honours in the respective seasons

After Manchester United won the Treble, David Beckham was ranked second in the Balon D’Or rankings. Six other Manchester United had been nominated for the awards. These included Schmeichel, Giggs, Yorke, and Cole, among others. 

After Arsenal’s Invincible season, only three of their players made it to the Balon d’Or’s final nomination list: Henry, Vieira, and Reyes. Henry finished in 4th spot in the final rankings. These nominations might indicate how challenging it was to lift the Treble than the golden EPL. 

Thierry Henry celebrating a past goal for Arsenal. He was part of the invincibles and was among the Balond'Or nominees, emerging fourth
Thierry Henry celebrating a past goal for Arsenal. He was part of the invincibles and was among the Balond’Or nominees, emerging fourth

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The trophies won

Manchester United was rewarded with three trophies for their impressive campaign in the 1998/99 season. These were the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League trophies. 

The Gunners won the Premier League trophy during their invincibles campaign in 2003/2004 season and were given a special golden trophy. Taking part in three competitions and winning them is a more significant challenge than winning a single trophy. In terms of trophies won, the Red Devils have the upper hand.

The difficulty of achieving each feat

Alex Ferguson’s side is respected for being the first and only English club to win the Treble. They did this after English clubs had been given a 5-year Champions League ban breaking the jinx of no English club making it to the finals in 8 years, and winning the trophy. Determined and unstoppable, United went on to add the Premier League and FA Cups to their accolades.

However, other European clubs have also replicated this feat, winning trebles on various occasions. In 2013, Bayern Munich won the Treble in Germany. Inter Milan also won the Treble in 2010 under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho. In 2009 and 2015, FC Barcelona also won the Treble. This could indicate that more clubs might achieve this feat in the coming years.

Juventus has only replicated the Invincible season in the top flight of European football. They did this in the 2011/12 season before winning the Scudetto. This proves that winning the league unbeaten might be more challenging than winning the Treble. It might take several other years before another unbeaten record is made in Europe.  

The treble winners celebrating their great feat. No English club has been able to replicate the same feat.
Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes celebrating their great feat. No English club has been able to replicate the same feat. Photo Credits: Manchester United

Beyond the Thrills: Reliving the Unforgettable Seasons of the ‘Invincibles’ and ‘Treble’ Winners

The Gunners managed to win 26 games and drew 12 in the invincibles season (2003/04). Despite having that impressive season, they faced some challenging games. At the beginning of the season, they drew 1-1 with Portsmouth FC. Thierry Henry later said that they drew the game given luck after being gifted a penalty late to draw the game. During that season, Arsenal scored 73 goals in the league in 2004. They scored 113 goals in all competitions.

Manchester United scored 80 league goals in their treble-winning season and had 128 goals scored in all competitions. They lost 3 league games all season. In terms of the number of goals scored in the league, Manchester United outshined Arsenal. Manchester United offered a more entertaining season than Arsenal.

How the Unbeatable Were Beaten: The Shocking Story of the Invincibles’ and Treble Winners’ Campaign Downfall

During their treble-winning campaign, the Old Trafford outfit lost five games. They lost to Sheffield Wednesday, Arsenal, and Middlesbrough in the league. Middlesbrough was the only club that beat Manchester United at home. They were also beaten by Arsenal during the Community Shield match at the beginning of the season. The last loss came at Tottenham in the league cup 3rd round. These were the only dents Manchester United experienced before achieving their greatest success.

In the 2004 season, the Gunners also experienced a fair share of disappointments from opponents. They were beaten by Middlesbrough FC in the League Cup semi-final stage. They also lost to bitter rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Chelsea also eliminated them late in the Champions League, leaving them with only a single title. 

Both clubs won their accolades impressively. However, they also experienced some humiliating losses during the season. This did not deter their seasons from being recorded as successes.

The Legacy of the Invincibles and Treble Winners Lives On

Every football fan can agree that the treble-winning and invincible seasons were impressive. The two clubs offered top-notch entertainment that will forever stay in the outstanding football records. The two managers also offered their highly entertaining, unique, and entertaining football styles.

Furthermore, both squads contained stars who were capable of lifting the trophies. They also had the quality and depth necessary to win accolades, and they eventually did so. Winning the league unbeaten was a challenging feat, especially with the league having the likes of Chelsea rebuilding under Abrahamovic. The Red Devils and the Reds were also impressive clubs at the time, and so Arsenal did a great job.

However, I would go with a treble owing to the quality of the trophies achieved and the number of games played by Man United. The United side had to play several games to win all the trophies. The three are prestigious cups highly rated in Europe, showing how lethal this united side must have been.

Manchester United is set to raid the European market to strengthen its squad

David De Gea in past match for Manchester United. David De Gea has fallen out of favor with the club's fans due to his error-prone nature and style of play.

Manchester United has had a season full of highs and lows. Despite winning the Carabao Cup, they still fight for the top 4 spots with the likes of Newcastle United and Liverpool. With some of their key players out injured, they have lost some crucial matches exposing how low their squad depth is lying. Manager Erik Ten Hag has insisted on the importance of the club raiding the market early enough to give him ample time to prepare for the upcoming season. Several top players have been linked with Manchester United.

A modern goalkeeper needed

Long-time Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has fallen out of favor with the club’s fans due to his error-prone nature and style of play. He has made some easy but crucial mistakes costing the Red Devils essential points. He is also still working on high claims and sweeping of the ball. His build-up play from the back still needs improvement despite Ten Hag trying to encourage that style of play. FC Porto goalkeeper, Diogo Costa, has been identified as the top target for the club. His build-up play from the back is highly rated. Moreover, his high claims and sweeping skills are impressive. If Manchester United miss out on him, all is not lost. David Raya from Brentford has also been mentioned as another shot-stopper they might consider for the job.

The Manchester United defence menace 

Club captain, Harry Maguire, has failed to meet his price tag and might leave in the summer with Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe. He still needs to impress the gaffer, forcing him to use left-back Luke Shaw as a center-back despite Maguire being fit. Scudetto winner Kim Min Jae has impressed this season at the Serie A, with some sources linking him with a summer move to Manchester. Jurrien Timber, who Ajax will sell in the summer, is excited to link up with Lisandro Martinez again. The two have been the most mentioned defenders with links to Manchester United.

Jurrien Timber celebrating a past goal with Ajax at the Johann Cruyff Arena. The defender would be excited to link up with Lisandro Martinez again.
Jurrien Timber celebrating a past goal with Ajax at the Johann Cruyff Arena. The defender would be excited to link up with Lisandro Martinez again. Photo Credits: Jurrien Timber

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The midfield restructuring

Among other midfielders, Scott McTominay and Donny Van De Beek are on the way out of the club. Some new faces might be witnessed at the Carrington soon as the club sets sight on competing for trophies next season. Alexis MacAllister has been mentioned as one of the midfielders to help rebuild the club after impressing for Both Brighton and his national team Argentina. Declan Rice is seen as the perfect long-term replacement for Casemiro and has also been linked to the club. Frenkie De Jong is still the top midfield target as Ten Hag tries to bring him to Old Trafford for the second consecutive season. 

The striking options

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been linked with Manchester United for some time now. With 22 Serie A goals this season and a scudetto to his name, he is wanted at the club to increase the number of goals scored. Harry Kane has also been linked to Man United in what is being taunted as an identical move to Robin Van Persie in 2012. Harry Kane is a Premier League-proven striker with two golden boots and can bank on that to give Manchester United the elusive Premier League title.

Victor Osimhen celebrating a past goal for Napoli. The Nigerian forward is among the players being sought after by Manchester United. Photo Credits: Napoli Official

Other clubs also eyed these transfer targets, with Ten Hag expecting to make quick signings to avoid missing out on his priority targets. A busy transfer window awaits Manchester United; it will be interesting to see how it goes.

The exciting top-four race is shaping up.

Jurgen Klopp in a past training session with the boys. Liverpool have made a resurgence in a quest for a top-four spot.

The English Premier League top-four race is heating up, with at least eight clubs being mathematically involved in this exhilarating affair. Manchester City and Arsenal have already cemented their places in the top two positions as they chase down the title. Newcastle United is unpredictably sitting in 3rd position with 65 points, while out-of-form Manchester United is sitting in 4th place with 63 points. Liverpool has closed the gap by winning six games on the bounce. Meanwhile, Manchester United have lost seven crucial points in their last six league encounters.

Fighting for Champions League reputation

Three clubs are fighting hard to maintain their Champions League reputation. Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur are Champions League regulars who have represented England on several occasions on the big stage. Liverpool have won six UEFA Champions League titles, the most an English club has ever managed to win. Manchester United are three-time winners still craving the title they last won in 2008. Tottenham Hotspur reached the finals of 2019 after at least seven consecutive seasons in the competition. 

These three English clubs are fighting for a top-four spot for the sake of their prestige of participating in the competition for several years. Although five points behind Liverpool, Tottenham have recently improved after Ryan Mason’s appointment as their head coach. With four games to go, Tottenham Hotspur is praying that they collect maximum points from their last games while other clubs slip for them to stand a chance of tasting the top-four spots.

Tottenham are set to play Aston Villa on 13th May, away at Villa Park. Both teams are scrambling for a European spot with only three points separating them
Tottenham are set to play Aston Villa on 13th May, away at Villa Park. Both teams are scrambling for a European spot with only three points separating them. Photo Credits: Spurs Official

Merseyside’s might is back in the top-four race

A few game weeks ago, Liverpool were in eighth position, almost 9 points behind Manchester United. Their recent resurgence has seen them collect 18 points out of 18, winning six games on the bounce. During the same period, Manchester United have only managed 10 out of a possible 18 points. The setback has opened a way for Liverpool, who have been boosted by the return of long-term injured players Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. The Merseyside side is now eyeing a top-four spot. Manchester United has a game in hand and can open the gap to four points with a win against Wolverhampton Wanderers this coming weekend.

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The underdogs craving for the piece of the cake

Brighton Hove Albion, and Aston Villa are considered underdogs who still believe they can still secure a chance in Europe’s elite club competition. With 55 and 54 points, the two clubs have been aiming for a European place by the end of the season. Although they are still mathematically in the race, the two clubs might have to settle for a Europa League spot with only a handful of matches left.

Dan Burn celebrating their victory against Leicester City in a past match. Newcastle are currently in third place, almost certain of a Champions League spot next season
Above, Dan Burn celebrating their victory against Leicester City in a past match. Newcastle are currently in third place, almost certain of a Champions League spot next season. Photo Credits: Newcastle FC

The crucially top-four games 

The following games will prove crucial in shaping the Premier League table. This weekend Newcastle United will be hosted at relegation-bound Leeds United. At the same time, Tottenham will have to face the impressive Unai Emery, who has witnessed a magnificent turnaround at Aston Villa. Manchester United will have to see off Wolverhampton Wanderers FC to try and reclaim their dwindling hopes of finishing in the top 4. Leicester City will host Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. The results from these matches will shape the table as the English Premier League enters its homestretch point.  

Manchester United are seeking to sign a new keeper

Livakovic celebrating a win for his team.

Manchester United are seeking to sign a new goal keeper, their main target, Dominic Livakovic. He has developed into one of the most prolific goalkeepers and has proven himself on the world stage. He plays as the number one Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper and doubles up as the Croatian national team goalkeeper. His impressive performances at club and national team levels are why he is now considered one of the most sought-after goalkeepers.

Livakovic exploits at club level

Livakovic was born on the 9th of January 1995 in Zadar, Croatia. He started his club career at the NK Zagreb team, where he made his senior debut on the 31st of August 2012. He joined Dinamo Zagreb at the beginning of the 2015/16 season and debuted for the club on the 2nd of October 2016. Since then, he has stayed at Dinamo Zagreb, playing a crucial role in their hunt for accolades.

At Dinamo Zagreb, he holds the record for the longest time since the start of the season without conceding a goal. He set the record of 535 minutes on the 2nd of August 2019 while playing against Gorica. His most impressive club performance for Dinamo Zagreb was noticed in the 2020-21 Europa League group stages. During that season, he conceded only one goal in 5 group-stage games while saving a crucial penalty. He was also instrumental when they eliminated Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 of the competition granting Zagreb their first Europa League quarter-finals appearance in history.

Dinamo Zagreb’s number one has been linked to a number of top sides following his great consistent performances. Photo Credits: Dinamo Zagreb

Livakovic exploits for the Croatian team

Dominik Livakovic earned his first international call-up to the Croatian National team in May 2016. He had to wait until 2017 to debut against Chile in the China Cup. In 2018, the Dinamo Zagreb shot stopper got the significant call-up to join the Croatian National team for the World Cup, where he won a silver medal after finishing runners-up to France. He did not play a game during the tournament, with Daniel Subasic being the leading man.

He was finally rewarded with his first competitive debut against England in a goalless Nations League match. It took several disappointing performances by Lovre Kalinic for Livakovic to be considered Croatia’s number 1 goalkeeper. He started playing this role satisfactorily against Wales on the 8th of June 2019.

His most impressive performances were noticed at the 2022 world cup, where he played eight matches for Croatia. He kept two clean sheets against Morocco and Belgium in the group stages and helped his team advance to the round of 16, where they faced Japan. His three crucial penalty saves ensured his team qualified for the quarter-finals. 

He saved another crucial penalty against Brazil in the quarter-finals. He ensured they got to the competition’s semi-finals for the second consecutive edition, where they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina. He, however, became the 15th player ever to be awarded a 10/10 performance by France magazine L’Equipe for his heroics against Morocco as they settled for the bronze medal. 

His world cup heroics have massively contributed to him being wanted by several clubs since he has proven to be a technically gifted player.

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Career Statistics

The Manchester United target has played at least 388 club games since he started playing his trade for Zagreb. These include at least 300 league and 70 European games. For the Croatian national team, he has played a total of 43 games. 


The Dinamo Zagreb shot stopper started winning trophies as early as 2014 with NK Zagreb, where they won the Croatian championship. At Dinamo Zagreb, he has won 5 league cups, two Croatian and two Croatian super cups. He won the world cup silver medal with Croatia while adding another bronze medal in the last world cup edition.

Livakovic in action for the Croatian national team
Livakovic in action for Dinamo Zagreb. The shot stopper has been linked with a move to Manchester United. Photo Credits: Dinamo Zagreb

Individual Honours

He has been named to the Croatian league team of the year seven times and named Croatian’s best goalkeeper for four consecutive years since 2019. After his superb performances, he was named to the Europa League breakthrough team of 2018. In 2020/21, he was named to the Europa League squad of the season

How much will it cost Manchester United to get Livakovic

The Croatian has a release clause of around 8.9 million euros that Manchester United is seemingly ready to pay. They are currently the only major club interested in the Croatian international, seeking to level up on David De Gea. If they can pay this release clause, Dominik Livakovic might make his appearance at Manchester United next season.

The Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose

Haaland celebrates scoring vs Arsenal in a 4:1 thriller

The Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose after impressively firing 4 goals past Arsenal in an entertaining premier league clash at the Etihad. The Cityzens came into the match inspired to reduce the gap on top of the table to two points and proved they were serious in the first half when they struck twice.

Kevin De Bruyne scored the first goal to put Man City in front before John Stones slotted the second home from a well taken free kick. In the second half Kevin De Bruyne scored another to put the game to rest. Rob Holding scored a late consolation before Erling Haaland scored deep into extra time to dent Arsenal’s title hopes.

The Premier League title is in sight for Guardiola’s side..

Pep Guardiola celebrating his sides victory over Arsenal in a crucial league match.
Pep Guardiola celebrating his sides victory over Arsenal in a Premier League title determining match. Photo Credits: Manchester City

The win has left Manchester City just 2 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal who have played two more games than Manchester City. Arsenal were once 8 points clear of Manchester City before a poor run of four games denied them maximum points. Three consecutive draws to Liverpool, West Ham United and Southampton messed up Arteta’s good form before Manchester City hammered them to make the title race even more interesting. At the same time, Manchester City have been winning their games and collecting crucial points that have now made the EPL trophy visible to Pep Guardiola’s side.

Manchester City are now considered clear favorites to win the league courtesy of the two games in hand they have. They are in good form and almost all conditions look favorable to them. Arsenal will need to show character as they are yet to face Chelsea and Newcastle United in the next few days. 

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Manchester City still have a treble to fight for with a two legged semi finals against Real Madrid on the cards. They also have an FA Cup final to play against rivals Manchester United. This means that they face a congestion of fixtures with 7 premier league games to play. Manchester City might seem like the ultimate winners of the premier league but the race is still on.

Manchester City’s Quest for the treble

Pep Guardiola celebrating his side proceeding to the FA cup finals. Photo Credits: Manchester City

Manchester City is leading a charge for a treble after qualifying for the FA Cup finals over the weekend. A hat trick from Riyad Mahrez was enough to spur the Pep Guardiola-coached side to victory over Championship side Sheffield United. Pep Guardiola would aim to win the FA Cup after missing out on the other domestic cup, the Carabao, to bitter rivals Manchester United.

The Cityzens had a smooth run in the Champions League and eliminated German giants Bayern Munich from last week’s competition. They are now set to meet Real Madrid in the semi-final set for May. Despite never winning the competition, they have been rated as the cup’s favorites.

In the league, Manchester City is only five (5) points behind Arsenal with two games in hand. The Gunners were 11 points on top before slipping in their last three games and losing six crucial points. This slip has rekindled the fight for the title, with Manchester City also looking like a possible winner.

Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick in the Wembley Stadium versus Sheffield United guiding his side to a semi-final victory.
Mahrez celebrating a goal as Manchester City played Sheffield United in the FA cup semi-finals. Photo credits: Manchester City

A footprint in Premier League’s hall of fame: Manchester City treble

Two of Sir Alex Ferguson’s records are on the verge of being broken by Pep Guardiola’s side if they can win the elusive treble. They would have replicated his famous three-peat, where he is the only EPL manager to win the premier league title thrice in a row. Furthermore, winning the treble would also mean Sir Alex Ferguson ceases to be the only EPL manager to manage that feat.

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The odds of winning the treble are in Manchester City’s favour due to their superb form and squad depth that can sustain them in all competitions. However, they have to floor three football heritage giants to achieve this feat. Firstly, they will have to battle it out with a wounded Arsenal in the league on Wednesday to prove they have the nerves to win the league. Secondly, they have to eliminate the Champions League defending Real Madrid from the competition’s semi-final. Finally, they have to beat rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup finals to lift the coveted domestic cup. If they manage these three wins, Manchester City could be on the verge of becoming the second EPL side to win a treble.

Will Alejandro Garnacho feature for Argentina U-20?

Alejandro Garnacho celebrating his goal in past match for Manchester United

Eighteen (18) year old Talented Manchester United forward Alejandro Garnacho is a wanted man in the Argentina Under 20 national team camp. The young sensation is needed to bolster the attack of the squad ahead of the FIFA under 20 World Cup that is set to be played in a months time.  The forward has been impressive for Manchester United this season netting 4 goals and recording 4 assists in 29 games.

The former Atletico Madrid academy player is particularly remembered for his superb stoppage time winner against Fulham FC and his late assist to Marcus Rashford that gave Manchester United the win against Manchester City. His superb form had earned him a call up to the Lionel Scaloni coached Argentina National Team before he unfortunately sustained a injury.

His needed presence at Old Trafford

As they near the end of the season, Manchester United are facing some key injuries as they try to compete for the FA Cup and a top 4 finish. The young forward is a crucial part of the squad and is expected to help add firepower to their forward line as they aim to achieve some of their targets. The head coach of Argentina under 20 national team Javier Mascherano, is believed to be a big fan of Garnacho. The under-20 coach would like him to be one of his key players as they aim to replicate what the senior team did in Qatar.

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According to some reports, Mascherano is set to fly  to England to try and convince Manchester United to allow their youngster to join the national team under 20 camp. If they accept to release him, he might miss the last 2 Manchester United premier league games and the FA Cup finals. The young forward has recently signed new long term contract at Manchester United and is believed to be one of the key future stars at the club.

Arsenal dominate Chelsea to reclaim top position

Arsenal players celebrating their goal against Chelsea

Chelsea and Arsenal went toe-to-toe today in the London derby, with Arsenal getting the better of Chelsea in almost every aspect. The Gunners won the match by one goal to nil following a goal from Gabriel Magalhaes in the second half. The goal came after Thiago Silva tried to progress the ball from the defense and got dispossessed by Jesus, who took a shot that Mendy parried away and led to a corner kick. Saka took a brilliant corner, perfectly delivered into the penalty area, allowing the Brazilian defender to convert and give the Gunners the lead. The entire Chelsea defense seemed to have switched off in that moment, and they weren’t let off this time. Chelsea looked harmless in the game and only finished with one shot on target. Mikel Arteta remains unbeaten in all of Arsenal’s premier league visits at Stamford Bridge since he was appointed head coach.

Arsenal players celebrating their goal
Arsenal players celebrating their goal. Photo Credits: Getty Images

Chelsea will look back at the miscued opportunity in which Havertz could have squared the ball back to Aubameyang but failed to do so. Other than that, the entire Chelsea team was out of sorts and would be glad that the result wasn’t worse than it was. The Chelsea midfield was outrightly outclassed, outmuscled, and outmaneuvered. Arsenal recorded their highest turnovers (16) in the opposition’s half this season in that game.

Arsenal go back top of the table

Arsenal are still on top of the table after 13 games, two points ahead of City. City won their game on Saturday against Fulham in the last minute. They had to put up a hard fight after Cancelo was sent off following a foul tackle on Harry Wilson inside his own penalty area. After the win against Chelsea, Arsenal have now played four of the top six clubs and only lost to Manchester United. With City holding an almost similar impeccable record, they remain the biggest impediment to the Gunners in this race that is shaping up.

After a brilliant run of games, Arsenal can be considered a serious team and a threat to Manchester City in the title race. They have discovered their style of play, which is full of swagger and finesse. There is a strong sense of togetherness in the squad and the fanbase at large. In his post-match conference, Mikel said, “the fans have transformed this squad.” That sort of connection is part of what is propelling Arsenal to the next level.

A two-horse race?

There is a gap between the second and third teams in the PL table. Newcastle are third, 5 points behind Manchester City, having played a game more. Chelsea and Manchester United are yet to find their strong foot this season. They will have to dig deep if they are to qualify for the top four. Having won their match, Liverpool have revived their top-four hopes and can’t yet be ruled out. It is the two top teams that are displaying stability and consistency. With Arsenal gradually silencing their doubters, it is safe to assume they have boarded the title bus. Similarly, City have proved in previous years that they can live up to the pace of a title competition. The question now lies in whether these two horses will be the only ones to see it through to the end.

Aubameyang’s rivalry with his former team

“Arsenal is doing great this season, and I wish my old guys well, just not on November 6th“, Auba tweeted days before the game. Auba also did a match promotional video with Sky sport in the week leading to the derby, making it known that he is a blue, and the same goes for London. “Arsenal, it’s nothing personal” was the highlight of the video. After the game, Magalhaes threw shades at Auba, tweeting, “nothing personal London is red.” The former Arsenal captain exited the club rather sourly, and his recent comments haven’t boded well with his former teammates.

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Mohammed Salah on the double as Reds beat Tottenham

Liverpool players celebrating after scoring against Tottenham. Image: Liverpool

The encounter between Tottenham and Liverpool is one that looked to carry the day after the earlier London derby brawl at Stamford Bridge. With Liverpool having been out of sorts for a great part of this season, a win seemed highly unlikely for the Reds. Their previous fixture against Leeds last weekend ended in defeat, in a match where Leeds looked the better. However, they managed to turn that around in midweek with a 2-nil victory against Napoli. That win could have momentarily restored confidence in Klopp’s men, but given their unpredictability in the league this season, defeat could not have been ruled out easily.

On the other hand, Tottenham were coming at the back of successive victories, with last-minute goals in both matches, indicating good luck was on Conte’s men. Spurs have been strongly condemned this season for their rudimentary football, lacking the guile but still getting the reward. The implication, however, is that even without playing their best football, they can still manage to grind out results out of matches, and that would have been their strongest suit against Liverpool.

Salah scores twice to hand Liverpool first away win

The game ended in a 2-1 win for the Reds, with Spurs putting in a fight up until the very end. Two first-half goals from Mohammed Salah saw Liverpool carry the day in a win that seemed shaky but still bore the anticipated feeling for the Kop. The first goal was a quick low shot towards the bottom corner, following a Nunez cutback, which left Lloris static. Salah then capitalized on an Eric Dier mistake to make it two for Liverpool. Following a long ball from Allison, Dier made a pig’s ear of a header that then allowed Salah a 1v1 with the keeper, with a finish deftly dinked beyond Lloris.

Salah with the dink to score his second against Spurs. Image: Goal
Salah with the dink to score his second against Spurs. Image: Goal

In the second half, Tottenham showed great resolve to fight back and had Liverpool on the back foot for huge parts of that period. Salah had the opportunity to score a hat-trick and put the game beyond Spurs, which he failed to capitalize. The substitution of Kulusevski in the second half threw a lifeline for Tottenham, with Kane’s goal stemming from his assist. Klopp’s men were, however, relentless to hold on until the final whistle and steal a win from Tottenham in their own stadium.

What next after this outcome?

This win now makes it the first away win for Liverpool, an outcome they will hope is indicative of a strong comeback. They are now 7 points off Tottenham, who sit fourth in the table. A win against Southampton next weekend would enliven their spirits and give life to their top 4 hopes going into the World Cup.

Tottenham and Chelsea remain the only big six teams who haven’t yet managed to take points away from big six opposition. This defeat, however, would not inflict significant damage to Conte’s men, with their grasp on the top 4 still firm and solid. They face Leeds next at home, who have been stellar against top-six opposition. They will have to work their tails off if they are to go into the World Cup with a smiley face.

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Captain Harry Maguire, the victim to daily online onslaught

Harry Maguire looks on during United's past game vs Aston Villa in the Premier League.

If you are a football fan and have been paying attention to social media in the last year or so, you must have heard of Harry Maguire. It’s impossible to avoid. The Manchester United defender might not be the most charismatic figure in the game right now, but he is the daily subject of online onslaught. No day goes by without the United captain being the focus of memes, jokes, or even downright insults.
But why is that? Many people, brands, and sites have jumped into the trend, constantly pulling jokes about Maguire that often punch below the belt. If the poor form was the cause, why are other players not getting a similar level of abuse? Today we will address a lot of other stuff regarding Harry Maguire and his current status in football.

Where was he born?

Jacob Harry Maguire was born in Sheffield on March 5th of, 1993. He developed as a player in the city’s biggest club, Sheffield United. Interestingly, he was part of the Sheffield Under-21s side that played against Manchester United in the 2011 FA Youth Cup final in Old Trafford. This final featured the likes of Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba on the opposing side.

Maguire even had to be taken off the pitch as he clashed with United midfielder Ravel Morrison during a header. This collision resulted in him getting a standing ovation from the supporters in the stadium when leaving the pitch and received a letter and a visit from then-United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, wishing him a speedy recovery. According to Maguire, many years later, while he didn’t grow up as a United supporter, those gestures made the club a lot more special.

Maguire at Sheffield United

He would go on to play with Sheffield’s first team in the lower divisions of English football until he signed with Hull City in 2014 on a £2.5 million deal. After a short spell on loan with Wigan Athletic in 2015, Maguire would be a key part of Hull’s promotion to the Premier League in the 2015/16 season. The England defender, went on to give very interesting displays in the sole season he spent with Hull in the top tier division of English football.

Sadly, Hull got relegated back to the Championship in the 2016/17 season. Still, the defender’s
performances allowed him to sign for Leicester City in a £12 million deal with the possibility of rising to £17 million when considering the add-ons. During this period, he started to make waves in the Premier League with the Foxes, and his marvelous displays with England in the 2018 World Cup also helped greatly with that.

Above: Harry Maguire celebrating with his fellow Leciester teammates at the time after he had scored a goal against Manchester United. The game was a 2:2 draw vs the Red devils.
Above: Harry Maguire celebrating with his fellow Leicester teammates at the time after he had scored a goal against Manchester United. The game was a 2:2 draw vs. the Red devils. Photo Credits: Mark Hoagh

As an interesting fact, then-United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he wanted to sign Maguire after his World Cup exploits in the summer of 2018. However, the club’s hierarchy was not in favor of spending the money that Leicester City was demanding. This would prove to be quite ironic when the following United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, signed Maguire in the summer of 2019 at a record fee of £80 million, making him the most expensive defender in the history of the game. Moreover, they agreed on weekly wages amounting to £189,904 (although it’s worth pointing out that Man United’s wages are not public knowledge, so this is based on leaks and reports rather than 100% factual information).

This was when the problems started for Maguire.

The captaincy controversy

There was already a lot of controversy surrounding Maguire when he signed for Man United in 2019. The 80 million pounds fee was deemed way too excessive for a player that didn’t have a major record of success (as of this writing, he hasn’t won any trophies with United). While his performances with Hull, Leicester, and England had been quite interesting, they didn’t warrant such a fee. Some people compared it to Virgil van Dijk’s move from Southampton to Liverpool, but that only added unnecessary comparisons to Maguire’s United career.

United Captain

In that regard, and with the benefit of hindsight, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s decision to make him United captain a few months after signing for the club was probably not the best. Looking back, there was a bit of logic: the United side of that period was fairly young, lacking a lot of experience, and veterans such as Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata or Ashley Young were already squad players. David De Gea, who has been suggested as club captain by supporters for years due to his longevity at the club, has never been too keen in having the armband and doesn’t seem to be a leader or at least a major one.

Maguire was in his peak years, a major piece in the England squad that made it to the World Cup semifinals in Russia. Moreover, he had worn the armband for his national side from time to time, so there was a bit of logic in Solskjær’s decision at the time. Despite all this, it massively backfired: making Maguire captain only drew more unnecessary spotlight towards him, with fans, pundits, and many more pointing out that he wasn’t United captain material whenever things didn’t go well, or Harry had a poor performance.

Varane and Maguire at the back

This was only exacerbated by the arrival of players such as Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, and even Raphael Varane. The aforementioned players possessed more expressive and fiery behaviors and personal records which generated a lot of debates among supporters about them having the armband over Maguire. This is something that goes on even to this very day. It can be argued that the armband situation, even more so than the transfer fee, has had a bigger impact on the online trolling that has been going on with the former Leicester defender in recent years.

Current status. Is he injured? Why has he been on the bench?

Under the guidance of current manager Erik Ten Hag, Harry Maguire is
performing as a squad player in this United side after being a secure starter since his signing in 2019. Despite still retaining the United armband, the solid performances of the Lisandro Martinez/Raphael Varane partnership have moved Maguire to the sidelines. He contributes from time to time as a rotation option.

There have been a lot of controversies with the supporters as a large portion of the United
fan base wants him sold. However, both Ten Hag and Maguire have been quite diplomatic about it, and with no major rumors about a sale, at least as of this writing. The former Sheffield man has been quite professional. He has never voiced any discomfort at being benched this season, which suggests that his relationship with the Dutch manager is cordial, at least.

Is Maguire now a bench player?

Will he leave United? It’s hard to say right now, but if the player wants a starting role, there is a good chance he may have to leave. There is also the element of online trolling and constant abuse that may take a toll on him, leading him to a change of scenery to have a bit of peace of mind and a fresh start. But right now, it’s hard to start.

However, despite a rocky beginning of the season at his club, Maguire seems poised to be a starter in England’s squad in the World Cup in Qatar this year. Manager Gareth Southgate is a huge fan of the defender, and the player has rewarded his faith in him with tremendous
performances. Notably, in the 2018 World Cup and the 2021 Euros. It’s safe to say that Maguire has earned to play this tournament with England, at least based on his performances with his national team.

Online abuse and insane escalation

Due to all the aforementioned reasons (his transfer fee, the armband, and the comparisons of success and character with other United players), the online trolling and abuse have gotten out of hand with Harry Maguire. While there is a lot of room to criticize his performances, which last season were less than stellar, many lines have been crossed to troll the player.

Pictured above: Harry Maguire, has been a subject of criticism from a number of Manchester United fans. WIll the defender feature for the England World cup squad?
Pictured above: Harry Maguire has been the subject of criticism from some Manchester United fans. Will the defender feature for the England World cup squad? Photo Credits:

For example, Maguire has been the subject of many out-of-context images to be blamed for the negative results United was getting. Last season they drew 1-1 against Southampton at Old Trafford. Still, the image everywhere on the internet was Harry Maguire getting turned due to a dribble made by Soton striker Armando Broja… which resulted in absolutely nothing afterward, and Maguire eventually retrieved the ball. But he was the one that got the blame for the result.

While Maguire has always been the subject of criticism since his arrival, his two first seasons with United were quite decent, and the out-of-context images were not so prominent. Much like the images, the captaincy issue wasn’t either, but it escalated as time passed. It was during the 2021/22 season, due to the awful season that United as a whole had and the extra media attention that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo brought to the club (not blaming the Portuguese for this, but his presence alone generates a lot more media attention), that Maguire went through as something that could be akin to character assassination.

Harry Maguire bomb threat

A great example of how things have escalated drastically was when he got a bomb threat in his own home near the end of last season, and several supports, YouTubers, etc., were trying to minimize the situation when this is a human being whose physical integrity and his family’s could have been hurt due to football. It’s illogical how things have reached this point with Maguire, whose only sin seems to be playing poorly, wearing an armband, and costing a lot of money–as if that is enough to warrant being mocked, booed and insulted every single day and every single match.

This is a man that posts an image doing charity work and gets tons of insults from United “supporters” simply because they don’t rate him as a player. It’s one of the most intense cases of online sports abuse in modern history and one that has gotten way out of hand.

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The question: Is he a good player?

The most interesting part about this Harry Maguire situation is how it keeps people from doing actual, unbiased football analyses about his performances and qualities as a player. You Tubers, social media influencers, and out-of-context images would make you think that this is the worst defender that has ever graced top-level football. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The then Manchester United captain celebrating his goal earlier on in the Premier League. Photo Credits: Getty Images

Maguire does have his flaws: he takes a bit too long to pass the ball. Notably, sometimes he mistimes his role as the aggressor in the defense. When the defensive structure loses balance, he is one of the first to look poorly because he needs to rely on his teammates. It would be fairly dishonest to claim he is a perfect player or that some criticism he is getting isn’t warranted.

Having said all that, you don’t make it to Manchester United and reach a World Cup semifinal and a Euros final as one of the tournament’s best players without being good at football. At his best, Harry Maguire is a top-class ball-playing defender with a strong physical edge to his game and a very strong heading, which makes him a complete option for a lot of teams.

Some coaches wanted to sign Maguire.

Managers such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, and Mauricio Pochettino have admitted that they wanted to sign him. It’s very difficult to believe that three highly regarded and successful managers, with three very different styles and understandings of the game, could be wrong about rating Maguire. And when looking at his United career with unbiased glasses, his first two seasons were solid. The end of the second one was so good that the vast majority of supporters were heartbroken that he lost the 2021 Europa League final against Villarreal.

In a way, Harry Maguire is a bit of a cautionary tale about what happens when online abuse goes too far and how it can cloud people’s opinion from a player in a very unwarranted manner.

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