Following the derby drubbing to Manchester City the mood at Old Trafford is unsurprisingly glum. The stage is all set for Guardiola’s men to truly showcase to the whole world the difference of class between Europe’s best and England’s current champions.
As is so often with European nights at Old Trafford, the footballing universe will look on as Pep’s men lock horns with Moyes’s men. Many will see it simply as a formality for the German champions however a small selection of Manchester United supporters, including me, will hope against hope for an upset. An improbable upset. We will dare to dream, the impossible dream.
Manchester United produced a stunning comeback last night, overturning the 2-0 they had carried into the game last night to win 3-0 on the night and book themselves a place in the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since the 2010-11 season, meaning there’s still something left to play for this season.
Here’s five lessons we have learnt last night.
It might not be the turning point David Moyes needed to save his United career, it’ll probably not change the way this season will be considered, but tonight’s performance showed that United can still turn up and give their fans something to shout about.
Evoking the spirit of ’84 might be a step too far, but United proved that they still have enough quality to perform on the big stage and the fans responded admirably, dragging their side through 90 emotional minutes.
If the drubbing against City was a warning sign that was completely ignored and the capitulations against Sunderland and Olympiacos resembled a new low, then Sunday’s humiliation was as much an end as it was a beginning.
A beginning of the end, hopefully, of David Moyes’ era in charge of Manchester United Football Club.
News has leaked from within Manchester United today sparking rumours David Moyes’ future is perhaps not as cut and dry as his 6yr contract suggests.
Recent results and, more worryingly, performances have been unacceptable but many onlookers still believe Moyes maintains the clubs backing. However, the latest news would, in most cases, make Moyes position untenable.
The importance of the match for both David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers – albeit for very different reasons – and the nature of the rivalry between their respective clubs may mean that Sunday’s encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool is more of a battle of stealth than strategy. However, here’s a quick look at how the sides, if they continue with the game-plans that have brought them success in recent weeks, may approach the game.
David Moyes has, rather staggeringly, failed to name the same starting eleven in two consecutive matches since the start of his Manchester United tenure. Nevertheless, a desire to examine the credentials of young defenders, ahead of a summer of upheaval, and some promising away performances from his front six may convince the Scot to redeploy the side that secured victory in United’s most recent match, at the Hawthorns.
Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Gary Neville. They are all former Manchester United captains. Any one of them would take a rocketing ball to the head if it resulted in a United win, any one of them would play in any position required if it helped the team and any one of them would gladly take a pay cut if it lengthened their stay at their club Manchester United.
They all played for the club’s badge, with pride and honour and would fight tooth and nail to help ensure its success. In doing this they produced some truly mesmerizing performances, such as Roy Keane’s performance vs Juventus in the 1999 UCL Semi-Final. Not only were they fantastic footballers, they were also leaders, on and off the pitch, who could single-handedly motivate the whole team by leading through example, and carry them through the most grueling of matches.
The recent announcement that Wayne Rooney had signed a lucrative five-year contract with Manchester United, rumoured to be worth around £300,000 per week for the Liverpudlian, indicated the club’s determination, or maybe desperation, to prove that Old Trafford remains an attractive home for the most stellar names in football.
The extension keeps Rooney at United until he is 33, which is undoubtedly a gamble, but it is one that Ed Woodward clearly felt the club simply had to take as David Moyes sets about transforming the fortunes of his under-performing side.