Manchester United have had quite a rocky decade, which began with trophies and triumph, but ends with uncertainty and turmoil. From Sir Alex Ferguson’s fantastic start to the decade to his former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tottering side, United fans have experienced a range of emotions in these 10 years.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 moments for Manchester United from the decade
Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13th and final English league title
One of the biggest changes that United witnessed in the 2010s is the exit of long-time manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who ended his Manchester United reign in the perfect way, winning the league title in his final season. What made it even better was that the Red Devils trumped neighbours Manchester City, who had won their first title in over 40 years, the season before.
After losing the title to City on goal difference, Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from rivals Arsenal, who played a key role in United winning the title. The best way to send off a legend of the beautiful game.
8-2 win over Arsenal
One of the highlights of the 2011-12 season for Manchester United, when they lost the title on goal difference, was their 8-2 win over Arsenal in the league. The Red Devils ran riot at Old Trafford scoring 5 goals in the last 25 minutes of the match.
This was the second biggest winning margin for Manchester United in the Premier League, second behind their 9-0 mauling of Ipswich City in 1995. The win against Arsenal confirmed the Gunners’ downfall which in hindsight, was a turning point in Wenger’s career, one of the fiercest rival of Ferguson.
FA Cup win
United have had very few trophies since the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson, with the first one coming only at the end of the 2015–16 season when they won the FA Cup under Louis van Gaal. While the prestige of England’s most famous cup competition has diminished quite significantly, for a club like Manchester United, who have been on a trophy drought, it meant a lot.
United defeated Crystal Palace 2-1, with a goal scored by Jesse Lingard in extra time. This was the first time United won the FA Cup in over a decade, with their last Cup win coming way back in 2004. But, it did not save van Gaal’s job, who was sacked two days after the final.
The signings of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Many fans and pundits predicted that United’s lack of trophies could result in them not being able to attract world-class talent, but that was proven wrong ahead of the 2016-17 season when the English side signed two bonafide stars – Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The former was returning to Old Trafford after having left the club to join Juventus, while the latter was to have his first taste of English football.
In their first season at the club, under new manager Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils won the Community Shield, the League Cup as well as the Europa League. Pogba ended the season with 9 goals and 6 assists, while Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals and 10 assists. Many fans were optimistic after the 2016-17 season as United seemed to be on the up despite their 6th place finish in the league.
Win over PSG in the Champions League
Following the departure of Jose Mourinho as manager of Manchester United, the Red Devils recruited former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a temporary basis. He guided United on a great run after being appointed in December 2018 but their performances tailed off in the closing stages of the season.
But, one of the matches that was the highlight of the 2018-19 season for United was the return leg of the Round of 16 game in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain. United had lost the home game 0-2 and had a mammoth task to progress to the next round of the competition. The Red Devils took an early lead under the opening 3 minutes, before being pegged back in the 12th minute. But Lukaku scored his second goal of the game in the second half to give United some hope of progressing to the next round.
The home side dominated the game and United looked bereft of ideas in the second half, but they got a lucky break in the dying moments of the game. The Red Devils won a penalty in injury time, which was slotted away by Marcus Rashford, helping United progress to the next round of the competition.
While the match, on its own, was a spectacle, the board’s decision to hand Ole the permanent contract was hastened as a result. And while there are lots of debates around his credentials and United’s progress under him, the brave call by Ed Woodward might well shape the future of the club as we will be witnessing in the coming seasons.