Archive for the ‘Europa League’ Category

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(Top four or Europa League? Why not both? José ponders the obvious!)

José Mourinho loves the Europa League. Not that he has much choice as it is the only European competition in which Manchester United are competing this season.

He didn’t appear to love it at the start of the season and it was only when he was reminded that it offered automatic Champion’s League qualification that his feelings towards it grew in a dramatic fashion. (more…)

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Manchester United controlled a largely dull first half in which they took the lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan when the Anderlecht goalkeeper parried a shot from Marcus Rashford straight to him.

Still quite adept at mis-controlling the ball and giving possession away very cheaply, they never looked in any danger of conceding and Anderlecht were left with a half-time team talk which would have included the words “must do better“. (more…)

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Yet again that mediocre La Liga has three teams through to the quarter finals of the Champion’s League, while that brilliant, exciting, competitive and just all-round good egg Premier League has one.

The good thing is that to prove it’s massive superiority over La Liga, it was a Premier League club which knocked out Sevilla. Yes, little old Leicester did what Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t do, they made it through to the quarter finals. (more…)

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So Manchester United managed to overcome a terrible pitch and a good team and are now in very real danger of reaching the final of the Europa League.

The pitch, at the end of the day, was the same for both teams although Rostov are, obviously, more used to playing on it. It didn’t really make a difference. Providing United, who had the better players, played to their potential then they were always going to be in a position to win the tie over the two legs. (more…)

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Well folks, it’s that time of the year again! European competition has returned with the start of the knockout stages of both the Champion’s League and the Europa League.

This article was supposed to be a preview of the two tournaments BEFORE any of the games had been played but, thanks to missed deadlines due to oversleeping, is now published after the first round of them has finished.

Fortunately only Arsenal, out of the English contingent, have played their first leg game and everybody knew what was going to happen before a ball was even kicked. (more…)

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At the beginning of the season there was belief. Belief that Manchester United were on the way back to being good at football.

They started off like an express train and were unstoppable until they were stopped. Unfortunately they were stopped by another unstoppable team at the time when Manchester City beat them at Old Trafford. City were to go on being unstoppable until they were stopped by Tottenham Hotspur who, whilst not being unstoppable, haven’t really been stopped by anybody yet, (unless you count a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford as stopping them). (more…)

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For the first time in a long time, if not for the first time at all, I feel the need to add a little background to this article.

I have just watched Manchester United’s Europa League game against Fenerbahće in an Irish bar in Granada, Spain.

I mention this purely as an excuse for any inaccuracies you may spot while reading said article. It was, in fact, a very noisy music night where a quartet of Spanish musicians played Irish tunes, virtually non-stop, for the entire evening. There were only two of us in the entire bar interested in what was happening at Old Trafford! (more…)

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Although José Mourinho was disappointed to lose to Feyenoord in Rotterdam, it was quite difficult to detect it in his post-match interview.

Stating that the team played better in the second half and that a few of the players were tasting their first minutes of football this season didn’t really tell us anything that we didn’t already know.

The conclusions drawn from the team selection and, consequently, the result is that, despite what he says to the press, José Mourinho doesn’t really care about this competition. (more…)

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Manchester City have once again been told that they are in the “Group of Death”. This should come as no surprise to either the supporters or to anybody connected with the club. Manchester City always get drawn in the “Group of Death”.

The problem here is the inferiority complex which could develop through this attitude. Why is this the toughest group from which to qualify just because it contains Barcelona? Over two games I would expect City to take at least one point from Messi and co. This leaves Borussia Mönchengladbach and Celtic. From these four games I would expect at least eight points which would give them a total of nine, more than likely enough to see them through in second place. (more…)

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To be honest, this was a very decent performance by Manchester United. Despite going a goal down in the first half and missing a penalty they played with enough purpose and resolve to score five good goals.

To add to the reasons for slight celebration, two of the goals were scored by Marcus Rashford, making his debut after Anthony Martial had decided that David De Gea shouldn’t have the monopoly on pulling up with an injury just before kick-off. What further added to the feel-good factor was the fact that Memphis Depay was the man-of-the-match.

To continue with the honesty, though, this was always a game that a Manchester United team should expect to win. They are in the Europa League playing teams who weren’t good enough for the Champion’s League. The fact that they have now fallen into this category is their own fault, but they should still be good enough to win it, even though they probably won’t.

Staying with “honesty is the best policy”, the young lads who won the game tonight were not playing because van Gaal gives young lads a chance, no, they were playing because injuries give young lads a chance. (more…)