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Man United the best Premier League team ever?

ESPN staff
March 30, 2013
Robin van Persie's personal goal drought goes on © Getty Images

The best team in Premier League history?

Victory over Sunderland on Saturday meant Manchester United became the first team in Premier League history to win 25 of their opening 30 fixtures. If they triumph in their remaining games they will amass 101 points, beating Chelsea's record of 95.

So can a team featuring a dodgy goalkeeper, a shaky defence and a 39-year-old actually be the best team in Premier League history? A team that fell behind in six of their opening eight league games of the campaign?

Surely not.

Fergie's forward-thinking

"It could be a dodgy goal off someone's backside. It doesn't bother me one bit."

In almost prophetic-like manner, Sir Alex Ferguson more-or-less described United's winner at Sunderland before it even happened. Titus Bramble, always a popular figure with opposing managers, didn't exactly get his backside to Robin van Persie's 27th-minute shot-cum-cross, but he did deflect home a hugely lucky own goal to hand United the lead.

It was the type of luck Roberto Mancini claims United have had all season. You would imagine Fergie "isn't bothered one bit".

Wise Wenger

Arsene Wenger began the day by telling his Arsenal players to fight for their futures, hinting some of their trophy-less flops would be shown the exit door unless they perform ahead of the summer.

One might suspect Mr Gervinho (probably sat next to Aaron Ramsey) heard those words more clearly than most, having never scored in back-to-back league games, and he inevitably broke that stat with the opener against Reading.

Matt Le Tissier even said on Sky Sports that Gervinho was "playing like Lionel Messi". Bet we don't hear that sentence again.

March-ing on together

A note to Premier League managers… if the fixture list dictates that you're travelling to Arsenal in March, do anything necessary to get the game re-arranged. The Gunners have lost only once under Wenger in 28 home league games played in March - winning 23.

If only they could repeat anything like that record in the other nine months of the season.

Goal of the day

Who said Gareth Bale was losing form? One injury-hit spell for Wales - during which Bale missed a sitter against Croatia - and it was feared the left-footed Cristiano Ronaldo was headed for the garbage bin reserved for "past-it" footballers.

Not so. After setting up Jan Verthonghen's opener at Swansea, Bale then received the ball from close to the 'D'. Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal did not even consider that he was in immediate danger of being beaten, but Bale controlled and slashed all in one movement to beat the keeper before he could move.

That was Bale's seventh from outside the box this season, more than any other player.

Good Kompany

What a week for Vincent Kompany. First he makes his return from injury for Belgium, then he earns the wrath of his club manager for doing so. Finally, he answers any critics with a goal for Man City in their 4-0 stroll against Newcastle.

Kompany's strike was his first for 11 months, since he scored a vital goal against United last season. Maybe Mancini should lambast him more often.

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