Is it testament to Sir Alex Ferguson's once-in-a-generation coaching techniques and man management that he was able to raise individual and collective performances from his last Manchester United side so they over-achieved to claim the Premier League crown last season, or is the current crop of Red Devils - largely the same group who achieved title success last term - under-achieving because of the retirement of Ferguson and the succession of erstwhile Everton manager David Moyes?
Regardless of one's position on the matter, there are prominent pundits and ex-professionals speaking out over the falling standards at Old Trafford, as the club registered another loss yesterday, Saturday, January 4, to exit the FA Cup at the third round, adding to the six defeats accrued in the Premier League already.
For Fox Sports presenter and former Newcastle United defender Warren Barton, it is not a case of Moyes not being up to par to coaching the reigning Premier League champions, it is more of a slight on the combined quality of the starting XI and those on the bench. For Barton, United have: 'the worst United team [he has] seen in 25 years.'
The initial reaction to this comment may be denial, but does Barton have a point?
A quarter of a decade ago, United had a great spine of players in Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson and Mark Hughes, the following year, Gary Pallister and Paul Ince were added and an FA Cup was won.
Throughout the 1990s, the club's academy bore tremendous fruit with Fergie's fledglings and Sir Alex went on to attract a multitude of silverware for Stretford with a number of iconic players representing the team, such as Roy Keane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While there is no denying the quality of Robin van Persie when he is fit, or the industriousness of Wayne Rooney, do the club have anyone in midfield akin to Robson, or a defender as on form as Pallister or Bruce?
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