The great English teams in history as: Man City beat Inter Milan06/10/2023
THE GREATEST ENGLISH TEAMS IN HISTORY: Manchester City earned legendary status by winning the Treble but where does Pep Guardiola’s squad rank among the domestic game’s best-ever sides?
- Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez could be named as the greatest front three at United
- While the Kenny Dalglish-Ian Rush partnership has not been bettered as of yet
- Mail Sport take a look at the best teams to date after the Champions League final
- RELIVE the action with Mail Sport’s live blog for the Champions League final
Firstly, let’s deal with the honourable exceptions. Billy Wright’s Wolves didn’t get to play in Europe but did succeed where England utterly failed in beating Ferenc Puskas’ Honved in an exhibition match in 1954.
That was the core of the Hungary team that beat England 6-3 and 7-1, so they may well justify a place here. But how to leave out Arsenal’s Invincibles (Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira) and City’s Centurions (Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero)?
History demands Preston, the original Invincibles and double winners, have to be in here, even if they only had 22 league games that season. They set the template.
Manchester United’s Busby Babes tragically never were able to fulfil their enormous promise in Europe; Denis Law, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton picked up their legacy.
Arsenal 1931-35 with three successive titles deserve a nod as the most tactically significant, Herbert Chapman reinventing the centre-half position and the W-M formation.
City beat Inter Milan in the Champions League final to join an elite category of English teams
Pep would approve. Liverpool’s 1986-1990 team were banned from Europe after the Heysel tragedy and maybe a string of European Cups led by John Barnes, John Aldridge and Peter Beardsley would have moved the dial.
Basically you get marked down for the not achieving in Europe – that’s you Man City 2017-2019 and Arsenal 2002-04. And marked up for achieving in Europe against all odds when you’re a mid-range provincial club from Nottingham with a genius in charge and win successive European Cups: still probably the greatest achievement in English football, given the resources, if not the greatest team.
So to the top five are…
There is a sweet spot of nostalgia during your coming of age and I was 14 when Liverpool won their treble – transpose the FA Cup with the League Cup – in 1984.
And yet I still I don’t think the Kenny Dalglish-Ian Rush partnership has been bettered, nor the balance of the Sammy Lee-Craig Johnstone-Graeme Souness-Ronnie Whelan midfield.
Kenny Dalglish-Ian Rush had one of the best partnerships in history and has not been topped
It’s hard to argue against the peak Cristiano Ronaldo-Wayne Rooney-Carlos Tevez attack of that Manchester United team as the greatest ever front three
Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen in defence were basically John Stones and then some and in an era when Bobby Moore had been forgotten and the English game eschewed ball-playing centre halves.
I’m torn for No.2 spot. I find it hard to argue against the peak Cristiano Ronaldo-Wayne Rooney-Carlos Tevez attack of that Manchester United team as the greatest ever front three.
With Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick sitting behind, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Matic in defence, they were phenomenal. But they ran into a better side in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and the Liverpool team of 74-81 won three European Cups, still the outstanding English performance in Europe.
Where do City rank? This team I feel is distinct from the Centurions of 2018 and near Centurions of 2019, who may even have been more aesthetically pleasing but flopped in Europe.
They are very close to United’s treble winners. And yet when it comes down to it, can you better Roy Keane and Paul Scholes in midfield, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs on the flanks?
The sheer doggedness of that United team and perhaps a bias towards the thrills they gave us, in repeatedly taking their treble to the edge, mean they win the day. Just. This City team have time on their side, however.
Mark Lawrenson (C) and Alan Hansen (R) in defence were basically John Stones
GREATEST ENGLISH TEAMS
1. Liverpool 1981-1984
2. Liverpool 1974-1981
3. Manchester United 2007-2009
4. Man Utd 1996-1999
5. Man City 2020-2023
6. Man Utd 1966-1968
7. Nottingham Forest 1978-80
8. Man City 2017-2019
9. Arsenal 2002-2004
10. Preston 1888-89
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