Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

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So it’s nearly all over. On Wednesday night the fat lady will sing, at least as far as any English interest in Europe is concerned. To continue the mixed metaphors from the previous article, then is the time that José Mourinho will find out if the straws at which he has been grasping can be pulled through the silver lining he has decided the Europa League to be, or if they will get stuck in the cloud.

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Counting chickens before they are hatched is easy when all of your eggs are in the same basket. José Mourinho has already counted the chickens and has decided that he will gamble on them all hatching.

Just to prove how confident he is in this he is also trying his hand at juggling with them! He doesn’t have another basket to hand, just in case a fox comes to steal the first one. He has decided that guarding the basket by concentrating all his efforts on it’s safety is the way forward. (more…)

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It is now Wednesday, 26th May. Manchester City are two points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and an inferior goal difference.

Manchester United are three points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and a vastly inferior goal difference.

The upshot of all this is the following: If Thursday’s derby game is a draw, both Manchester clubs gain a point on Liverpool and both will overtake Liverpool should they win their other game in hand.

If Manchester United win the game, they will be level with Liverpool and City will still be only two points behind but still with a game in hand. So either of these two scenarios would suit United and neither would be disastrous for City.

However, should City win then the outlook becomes a little bleaker for United. They would still be three points behind Liverpool, only have one game in hand and their inferior goal difference would be even more inferior. They would then have to rely on Liverpool slipping up at some stage which, in all fairness, is a probability rather than a possibility. So all would not be quite lost, but the outcome of the derby is certainly more poignant to United than it is to City.

Having won at Old Trafford earlier in the season at a time when City were playing their best football it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if they were favourites for this one. The fortunes of the two clubs have, however, differed slightly since then.

United have gone on to win the EFL Cup and are in the quarter finals of the Europa League. In fact they are now favourites to win it.

City, on the other hand, have been knocked out of the Champion’s League due to attacking a two-goal lead rather than defending it, and been knocked out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage. They will end the season trophyless, not something which was expected when Pep Guardiola took the reins.

It is difficult to see these events not having some psychological effect on the players. After all, they were the team who were going to win things with their new manager. This will not now be the case, not short term anyway.

All of this, in our very humble opinion, makes Manchester United slight favourites for the win but the draw still remains the safest bet.

It will certainly be an interesting derby game onThursday.

The FA Cup final will feature Chelsea and Arsenal. Two London teams playing the final in London. Quite fair really. The semi-finals featured three London teams and one from Manchester and were also played in London. Totally unfair really.

How three clubs can play a “home” game whilst another is totally disadvantaged by being the sole “away” team is beyond the comprehension of this fair-minded publication. What happened to playing the semi-finals on a neutral ground in a neutral city?

The result was quite predictable with this heavy bias towards London and now the final will be contested between two teams who, through no real fault of their own, generate no real interest outside of London particularly in a competition which has now become one which nobody really cares much about either.

When will the FA come to their senses, (a perpetually rhetorical question!), and return the old values to the tournament? Maybe then some of the old “magic” may reappear. Until that happens it will remain a bit of a damp squib.

FA Cup final weekend has finally become just another weekend.

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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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As egos go, there are none much bigger than that of José Mourinho. Little is said of his time flirting with Inter Milan and Real Madrid even though he continued winning trophies with both clubs.

No, it is his two “marriages” to Chelsea for which, at present anyway, he is being remembered.

The second break-up was far more noteworthy than the first as it was brought about by a perceived breakdown in relationships with certain players and with the club outside the top ten for the first time in years. Mourinho was unceremoniously kicked out and Chelsea were soon to be in a new relationship with Antonio Conte. (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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Maybe the manager’s expectations weren’t too high. Maybe the fan’s expectations WERE too high. Either way, for Pep Guardiola or José Mourinho, if the season was to end now, then it hasn’t been that bad.

City would qualify for the Champion’s League through their Premier League position and United would qualify for the Europa League because of their EFL Cup triumph and their position in the Premier League. This may not be exactly how the supporters envisaged it at the start of the campaign but it would still represent a decent season for the two. (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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Manchester United are among the top four teams in the country, just not according to the league table or their results at Old Trafford.

The league table currently has them in joint fifth position and, at Old Trafford, they have failed to beat Stoke City, Burnley and 10-man Bournemouth to name but three.

Failure to take three points from each of these games is inexcusable and it is difficult to imagine the same happening to Chelsea or Manchester City.

Against Bournemouth, for example, the finishing was woeful. Both Paul Pogba And Zlatan Ibrahimovic were guilty of missing excellent chances with the latter even managing to miss a penalty. (more…)

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We here at WSA recently had a spare five minutes which we filled by playing the Daily Mirror top six predictor game, (it’s here if you want to try it out).

It’s quite simple really, all you do is enter whether you think the top six will win, lose or draw their remaining games and the widget calculates the rest. Our final table had Chelsea as champions, Manchester City second and Manchester United third. Tottenham edged out Arsenal and Liverpool for the fourth spot. (more…)