TO GET INTO THE TOP FOUR OF THE EPL, MANCHESTER UNITED NEED TO BUCK UP FOR THE DERBY VS MAN CITY AFTER THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LOSS VS BARCA
Barcelona 3-0 Manchester United. A scoreline that sums up how we played at Camp Nou, a night which was possible because of that stupendous win at Parc de Princes. But, a night that shattered the dream run we were having at the Champions League.
Yes, this is the same Manchester United fan that rambled on about how we have improved as a team and how we can take on Barcelona, after that hell of a win against PSG. However, what the Catsalonian giants possess in their arsenal, is something which not any team in the world has – the presence of the magician Lionel Messi.
It was just one man who took the game away from us — with that belter of a first goal. And even though I am a United fan, one can’t help but acknowledge the sheer brilliance of the maestro at work. Like the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, he single handedly took the game away for us.
But the Champions League was sort of a dream for us, as a much bigger and more realistic challenge awaits us back home in the Premier League. We have a huge week ahead, with a game against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
This is a fixture that is so much more crucial to us as it will decide our fate of whether we will be in the top four of the Premier League. For the uninitiated, being in the top four means that we will qualify for next year’s Champion’s League.
Currently we are placed sixth in the points table with 64 points and five more games to play. Chelsea are still ahead of us having played one more game and Arsenal are at the coveted number four sport, with two points ahead of us.
So, the game against City is a very big deal for us. Not only is it the big Manchester derby, but it is also crucial for our chances in the top four. We have to beat City. The blues are now second in the table and are one of the top contenders for clinching the EPL title. City have played some of the best football in the past two years, and are the current defending champions.
They have one of the most ferocious back lines in world football at the moment, and scoring goals against them won’t be easy at all. Add to that, they are out of the Champions League, and have missed the chance to complete the fabled European treble. So, they will pounce on us like wounded tigers.
But last year, we pulled off a United way of finding a victory when we scored 3 goals in less than ten minutes to pull off an outstanding win. This year too, we need to step up and attack City for our cause. We need to pull up our socks and believe in our now permanent manager Ole Gunner Solksjaer to pull off something extremely special.
We need to win to have our chances of getting into the Champions League next year, and in the words of our manager “to get more such special nights” like that night in Paris when we beat PSG. So, winning the derby should be the goal for us. Not only the derby, we have to win all five of our remaining games to have any chance.
For that our players needs to step up. For the past couple of games, they have shown the signs of going back to how miserable the team was under Mourinho rather than the rejuvenated United that Solksjaer has turned us into. We believe we can do it, and we know we can do it.
As for Solksjaer, it is only because of him that we are dreaming for a top four finish after the horror season we had previously under Mourinho. But it is not the manager alone that is responsible for the team’s fate. The players too need to show their class.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the level of world class players that suppose a City or Barcelona possess. We don’t have enough backups. For some positions, we don’t have even first choice players e.g. right back.
We play Ashley Young as a makeshift full back and sorry to say but he is a disaster of a player. He makes so many mistakes per game that now he has become unforgivable. In the coming transfer window, as Solksjaer said we need to buy players and beef up our squad. Only then can we hope to challenge for the title.
Until then, we need to believe we can win, because when United’s backs are pushed against the wall we tend to bounce back. So, against city we hope to win the United way and replenish our chances of Champions league qualification.