If there’s a man who epitomises Manchester United’s fall from grace this season, that’s Michael Carrick. The Geordie midfielder hasn’t performed particularly bad this season – certainly not when compared to some of his teammates – and even though he hasn’t reached the stellar standards he achieved last campaign, he’s had a positive influence on United’s midfield.
Carrick, however, symbolises the catastrophic bad luck United have endured with injuries this season, for having just returned from a six-week absence following surgery on his Achilles tendon, the 32-year-old will now miss up to a month after picking up an ankle injury in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semifinal against Sunderland.
David Moyes has been assured that his job remains safe, despite United’s dismal season plummeting to new lows on Wednesday, as United crashed out of the Capital One Cup after a spineless and shambolic performance.
With the FA Cup and the Premier League already gone down the drain, United are left with only one chance of trophy this season, but not even the most ardent of Reds – or the most optimistic of gamblers – would bet on David Moyes’ men lifting United’s fourth European Cup in Lisbon later on this season.
Trying to metabolise a defeat on penalties is always a daunting task. Partly because the mind tends to cast back to a serious of moments and split second decisions that could have changed the game over the course of 90 – or 120 – minutes and partly because defeats matured in such cruel manner always feel a little bit more unfair than others.
However, after last night’s debacle against Sunderland we weren’t afforded neither of those two privileges, for United, courtesy of their fearful approach, did not have a chance to win the game in normal time and were indeed lucky to take the contest onto the penalty shootout at all.
Just when it appears that Manchester United might be about to – whisper it – sign a midfielder, another man who’s been linked with a move to Old Trafford, which would be a return in his case, has spilled the beans over the reasons that led him to leave the club 18 months ago.
Paul Pogba has been making waves with Juventus ever since he joined the Serie A giants for free in 2012, after United had allowed his contract to expire and the Frenchman has admitted he left Old Trafford after been left “disgusted” by Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to pick Rafael ahead of him for a central midfield spot.
After watching last night’s torture unfolding – and for those who didn’t, just to clarify, it was pure and uninterrupted torture – it can be hard to find any reasons at all to be cheerful this morning, with United dumped out of another competition and increasingly look like a mid-table side – one incapable of taking penalties, at that.
However, there might be a ray of light finally about to shine on David Moyes’ squad as Chelsea have reportedly accepted United’s £37m for Juan Mata, meaning that the Spaniard could be on his way to Old Trafford soon.
There’s something quintessentially United about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with the last kick of the game.
Unfortunately, there’s also something quintessentially United – at least as far as the class of the 2013-14 season are concerned – in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat only to extend the agony and ensure that the blow, when it’s finally delivered, is even more painful.
The news Reds had been waiting for is finally arrived, as Manchester United have submitted a £35m offer for Chelsea’s playmaker Juan Mata.
United have been insistently linked with a move for the Spanish playmaker over the last 36 hours and things look to have gathered pace over the last few hours, with Mata missing training at Chelsea and reportedly waving goodbye to his teammates, before the confirmation of an offer.
Manchester United host Sunderland in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal, trailing 2-1 to the Wearsiders and requiring a win to clinch a spot in League Cup final for the fourth time in eight years.
Ahead of tonight’s game, we have caught up with Sunderland blogger Joseph (@SunderlandWorld) who was kind enough to share his views on tonight’s game, Wes Brown and United’s malaise.