More On What Manchester Learned From The Champion’s League And England’s Meteoric Rise

Posted: September 21, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, England, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , ,

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Well that was a mixed night for the city of Manchester. It turned out very well for the “United” of Manchester but the real “City” of Manchester fluffed their lines spectacularly.

In a game away from home, on a plastic pitch against a team who top the Swiss League having won all of their first six games, this was a potential banana skin for United.

They coped with it very well and, after a reasonable start by the Swiss, opened the scoring through a rejuvenated Paul Pogba. Now given more of a roaming role with Nemanja Matic and Fred as the two holding midfielders, the Frenchman is beginning to look the part.

He scored United’s second as well, this time from the spot as a dubious penalty was awarded when Luke Shaw blasted the ball against the hand of Mbabu from around three yards. Quite what the Young Boys player was supposed to do is an unknown and maybe it is time for the rule to be simplified. Just award free-kicks and penalties EVERY TIME the ball strikes a hand, accidental or otherwise, that takes away any doubt or confusion.

Unlike the second half in the games against Burnley and Watford, when United also led by two goals to nil, this time they added a third which killed the game off. Another Mourinho “outcast”, Anthony Martial, got this one with a deflected shot.

So a 0-3 win was very welcome before the team flew back, the following day, to Manchester.

City, on the other hand, did not see Lyon as a potential banana skin and maybe that was where the problem lay.

With Pep Guardiola watching from the stands due to a one-match European touchline ban, (his presence there not appearing to make a lot of difference to the size of the crowd which was around 13,000 down on the average for the Premier League games), Mikel Arteta took charge of the team. City were poor in the first half and went in 0-2 down after goals from Maxwell Cornet and Nabil Fekir.

They were marginally better in the second half and certainly created more chances but still only managed one goal courtesy of Bernardo Silva.

With regards to the relatively small attendance it is hardly surprising that some City fans, mindful of the cost of attending matches, chose to give this one a miss as it was a group game and, even with City losing, shouldn’t have any real bearing on the outcome of this group.

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Pep watches from the stands no doubt wishing that, like a few thousand others, he had given this game a miss and stayed home

The bigger worry should be that without their manager screaming instructions on the touchline, this team became a shadow of it’s former self.

And finally…..

England are now officially the sixth best national team in the world. How does that work?

This team, who scraped past Tunisia, beat Colombia in a penalty shoot-out because they weren’t good enough during normal and extra time and then lost to Croatia, are now regarded as being better than they were before these obviously misleading results.

We say misleading because it would appear that these results have improved the team which is a complete nonsense. As was shown in the defeat to Spain, England are not even worthy of place in the top ten, never mind the top six.

Still, if it keeps the nation optimistically expecting the side to win the next European Championships or World Cup then who are we to argue?

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