High Press Episode 7:
Episode 7 of High Press takes a look at the greatest teams in Premier League history from Manchester United’s treble winners to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Host Alison Bender is joined by Alyson Rudd, Nizaar Kinsella and Matt Barlow to rank the greatest teams in the modern era.
Manchester City’s treble winners
Bender kicks off the conversation by praising Manchester City’s treble in 2022-23, with Barlow saying the achievement was the ‘epitome of the squad era’, mentioning Kevin De Bruyne’s injuries and Fernandinho’s departure. The debate then turns to whether that was even the best City team of Pep Guardiola’s tenure.
Kinsella said City’s 4-0 win over Real Madrid was ‘some of the best football he’s ever seen’, and suggests that they have set a benchmark for others around Europe.
When comparing Manchester United’s treble with City’s, Barlow said, “I think the two trebles are interesting to compare, because there’s a real blur between the excellence of City and romance of United.”
Manchester United’s unlikely treble
Kinsella remembered the celebrations at the Camp Nou, including Peter Schmeichel’s now-iconic backflip. Rudd then looked back on Alex Ferguson’s ‘Football, bloody hell’ quote and how the former Manchester United manager has ‘distanced himself’ from the comment.
The romance element of United’s treble is clearly a major factor for the panel, and they questioned how fans will look back on City’s treble in a decade or two.
Turning to Arsenal’s Invincibles, Rudd praised Arsene Wenger’s historic side.
“Key to it all, I think, is that they were unbeaten not by being dour and defensive, although they were very good at the back. They played attractive, buccaneering football. To have a team that’s famous for going unbeaten through a season, but have given you so much entertainment at the same time, I think that allows them to be part of this conversation.”
Mourinho’s Chelsea 2004/2005
The panel debated Wenger’s attitude to going unbeaten, and how Arsenal’s fans ultimately turned on him before Bender brings up Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea.
Following a discussion about Mourinho’s legacy, the Makelele role and Chelsea’s leadership, Kinsella said, “Chelsea under Abramovich, the way they did things, it changed English football.”
Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp
With focus switching to Liverpool, Rudd kicks off the conversation by saying, “I do know a lot of people who support other teams who say, ‘I wish we had Jurgen Klopp as our manager’”. Kinsella praised Liverpool’s process in the early years under Klopp.
“They couldn’t do it like City, could they? I think that’s what I find great about this achievement was they to do it a bit slower, it was almost piece-by-piece. They didn’t really have the finances that Man City had but they were able to compete.”
The signing of Virgil van Dijk was inevitably mentioned, too. Kinsella and Barlow said both Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino wanted the Dutchman before he moved to Merseyside.
Top 5s RANKED
The panel agreed that United’s treble-winning side was the greatest in Premier League history, with Rudd saying she has it top by ‘quite some distance’. City are universally put second, though Rudd and Barlow mention the asterisk of their FFP charges.
Do you agree or disagree with their rankings? What would your top five be?
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