Manchester United will have that glorious year etched in their memories for a lifetime. The frame of the final. The excitement of every game in the Champions League that season. And the sea of Red, AKA Manchester, that greeted the victorious squad on their return.
It was a remarkable year, even from the neutral perspective. And of course its hard to compare then with now. Manchester United of 1999 were swatting everyone that they played like wingless flies. The league was a close run thing simply because of the quality of opposition. Arsenal were at their peak and pushed Manchester United all the way in league and cup.
But, in the European semi-final of that year, Manchester United looked beaten when they gave a drab performance in 1st leg at Old Trafford against the all-conquering Juventus. But with time running out the legend that is Ryan Giggs (amazingly he was already approaching his late twenties by that point) stole in to grab the draw which took the tie back to Italy all square.
Fast forward 15 years and Manchester United are once more up against the pre-eminent force in European football. Once again they are at 1-1 going into the cauldron of a second leg with everything to play for.
We just wonder whether history could repeat itself. Could Manchester United remind us of who they are? Remind us of the spirit, daring and hunger that has driven this club to unprecedented success over the last 25 years?
It’s there for the taking if Manchester United approach the game in the right way. Like they did in Turin. Of course, that night, they were 2 down in no time and had to attack. But we would just like to see David Moyes be bold in this one and set Manchester United up in their best attacking traditions.
Winning football matches is about scoring goals. It would be a real shame to see Manchester United spend 90 minutes defending for their lives and simply hoping to snatch a goal. For all their strength Bayern don’t deserve that much respect. They are good, but they still aren’t a patch on the Barcelona side which took Manchester United to the cleaners twice in three years in The Champions League final.
Manchester United are always at their best when they play on the front foot. Not huddled around their own 18 yard line.
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