On this day: 2008 demolition of Aston Villa shows how far Manchester United have fallen

Old Trafford was a very different place six years ago to the day, when Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney ripped Aston Villa apart.

Six years on, Manchester United head into a home clash with Villa with very little chance of repeating such a feat.

Off the back of hammerings at home to Liverpool and Manchester City, many United fans will look back to 2008 with envy for a win that saw Ferguson bring up his 700th win as United boss.

On a wet day at Old Trafford, Ronaldo and Rooney ran the show as United thrashed Villa 4-0 in a team that went on to claim the Premier League and Champions League that season.

That day was also the 32nd game of the Premier League season for the Red Devils, as it will be tomorrow.

The 4-0 win sent United six points clear at the top of the table, while even if they repeated such a score line tomorrow they would remain rooted in seventh.

The contrasts between March 29, 2008 and the same date in 2014 are vast for United in so many ways.

Ferguson’s 2008 squad were arguably the strongest in Premier League history while the current batch could be accused of being the weakest squad United have ever possessed.

On that day United lined up with Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in their pomp, while the attacking trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez were impossible to stop.

This time around, David Moyes could field Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jones and Ashley Young, highlighting the reduction in quality at Old Trafford in the last six years.

In the 2007-08 Premier League campaign, United conceded just 22 goals compared to this season, where they have already let in 37.

Six years ago there were few teams in the world better than Ferguson’s United as they marched to their third European Cup, dispatching the mighty Barcelona before beating Chelsea in the final.

Next week will see United take on the reigning European champions Bayern Munich and unlike 2008, when they feared nobody, the Old Trafford faithful will enter the game fearing the worst.

In the last six years, United have added three Premier League titles, two league cups and a Club World Cup.

However, the quality of the squad has steadily declined over that period as the great players of the time have left, aged or retired and have not been replaced by players of similar quality.

The end result is that Moyes has been left with a squad which he failed to strengthen in the summer and so has allowed a team that almost broke the Premier League points record last season slip to seventh in the table.

The demolition of Aston Villa six years ago demonstrates how desperately performances have dropped off at Old Trafford, as a side boasting the finest attacking trio in the world has descended into a team devoid of any attacking flair.

United’s Old Trafford form this season means that even recording a win against Villa will be an achievement rather than the home crowd even being able to consider how many goals their side may rattle in.

Main image courtesy of KaiiZoFilms via YouTube, with thanks.

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