“The big challenges are the biggest stage and it is a true test of all footballers in Europe,” said former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson who, like Sir Matt Busby had done before him, immediately grasped the notion that, for all their desire to succeed domestically, Manchester United live and die by the European Cup.
Having lifted European club football’s most coveted prize twice under Fergie’s tutelage, United enter uncharted territory tonight, when they welcome Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford in David Moyes’ first Champions League match in charge of the club.
Manchester United kick off their Champions League campaign against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford this evening, the first time United enter the competition with a different manager other than Sir Alex Ferguson.
The game also marks David Moyes’ debut in the competition proper, as the former Everton manager’s only previous experience in the competition dates back to the 2005-06 season when the Toffees were knocked out in the third qualifying round by Villareal, who would then go on to reach the semifinals that season.
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Two European giants meet up in this glamorous Champions League quarter-final. Check out who we’re backing with our soccer picks.
This Wednesday we see the first leg of what should be a cracking last eight affair.
Barcelona takes on Milan at the San Siro and are the favorites in the soccer odds at the moment. They can be found anywhere from +370 to +453, which seems like great value for a team as talented as the Rossoneri.
The Catalan powerhouses are at -145 at in places and -148 at others, which again could be interpreted as good value on Messi & company. This is a team that not only doesn’t lose, they have a tendency to win big.
They might call it a draw, but the picture drawn in Nyon last week left nothing to the imagination. If anything, it was permeated with a feeling of inevitability, an inevitability that would make a bookmaker smile; well, them and UEFA, obviously! Savvy punters would possibly have used their free bets on Real Madrid avoiding Barcelona had there been a market, as it is, the draw has kept the distinct possibility of that becoming the glamour final of glamour finals.
To the governing body of European football, the Champions League draw must be the equivalent of watching the premiere of a thriller already knowing who the killer is or if our heroes will make up and live happily ever after.
Manchester United failed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2005-06 season, after losing 2-1 in Basel on a disappointing night.
Last year’s finalist paid the price for making a mess of what was widely regarded to be the easiest group in the competition and stumbled to a defeat, when a draw would have been enough to progress.
In all honesty, it is not often I can look back on a Manchester United draw in satisfaction. However, following a couple of weeks where attacking play seems like a taboo, United fans anticipated a strong offensive performance when Benfica visited Old Trafford for their Champions League crunch match.
After the Derby Day slaughtering at Old Trafford, the Red Devils have kept 5 clean sheets on the trot, something we have not seen from the club in over two years…..they were not destined to make it 6 though.
The Portuguese outfit entered the pitch with only one thing in mind – Attack! They started energetically and brightly, they set a high line, and pressured United from the outset.
How did United manage to get it tactically right but fail to take all three points after falling behind in the opening minutes?
Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Benfica, meaning that they’ll have to win their last group game against Basel if they are to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 15th time in 17 seasons. Continue reading
OK so by now many of you are sick and tired of my negative post match rants and so rather than risk infuriating you some more, let me change things a bit and inject some sarcastic humor to the proceedings. Instead of a review of the match vs Otelul, let me expose my thoughts through a mock quiz format that plainly expresses what I feel about the team of late as well as the game just completed. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Haven’t we seen this before? I knew it wouldn’t last. I mean Fergie could never let things just be. It was asking too much for us to carry our youth movement, scintillating pace and form over the Channel and into the continent and expect a similar starting squad and the tactics that have wowed us for last month. Instead Fergie called on the old guard and decided to go back to his proven cautious and pragmatic approach, which mixes one part boredom, one part sloth-like pace, and two parts cowardice into a cocktail that chokes the lifeblood out of all Manchester United supporters.
There is light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel otherwise known as the international break – next week, Manchester United will once again be starting their Champions League campaign, with Sir Alex Ferguson determined to go one step better than last year. But before the Premier League champions can think of tackling European nemesis Barcelona, they must overcome Benfica, FC Basle and Otelul Galati in their six group stage games.
Manchester United’s Champions League campaign will see them travel to Portugal, Switzerland and Romania to face opposition who, on paper, appear to offer little resistance to a successful group stage.
The draw this year was particularly brutal to many teams especially the other three English entries. While United received a fairly easy ride to the knockout stage others were not so fortunate.
After all, that’s the question that is asked over and over again. Not just at Old Trafford, but at the Bernabeu, the Emirates, and a host of other places that aspire for European glory. Continue reading
The Betfair markets have been reacting to Friday’s Champions League draw and it’s time for punters to step up too.
United backers will be delighted to see the Reds paired with Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and either Lyon or Bordeaux in the semis. Odds of 4.5 (7/2) on a third Champions League triumph for Sir Alex’s men should be snapped up now.