Posts Tagged ‘The Europa League’


Never say never. There is a chance that José Mourinho actually does want to manage PSG at some stage of his career, just not yet, it would only make sense if United were to sack him.

What would he achieve? A Champion’s League title in another country? Probably, but is that really the kind of achievement he wants on his CV? Winning trophies at a club who will forever be accused of doing so because of their wealth rather than any managerial ability.

No, Mourinho is far better off at United for the time being. Yes, he has money to spend but, in the Premier League unlike in Ligue 1, that is no guarantee that he will win the title. (more…)



The Champion’s league started life as the European Cup back in 1955. It was originally intended to be a competition featuring the champions of the major European football leagues and ran, in this format, for 37 years.

As a tournament it was very successful and also very simple. Ties were played over two legs, home and away, and the winners progressed to the next round. Nothing too complicated there then. To be in it a team either had to win it or win their domestic league.

Unfortunately, not only was this not complicated enough for UEFA, it also didn’t generate enough money so, in 1992, the Champion’s League was born. (more…)


We can’t help but notice that old Arséne, you know the one, French geezer who has had Arsenal in reverse gear for the last few seasons, is slowly losing the plot and has, once again, returned to his obsession with all things Manchester United.

Having decided to award himself a new two year contract when most people wanted him awarded a gold watch and a handshake he has now decided that, from his newly acquired, (and very temporary), position of strength he will make silly comments which will probably come back to bite him. Nothing new there then. (more…)


Judging by the amount of money with which José Mourinho has been entrusted to buy players during this transfer window, Manchester United seem pretty confident that he is the right man for the job medium to long-term. Bear in mind, he spent around £150 million in the last Summer window and is likely to spend anything between £100 and £200 million this time, maybe even a little more. (more…)


What is happening in Manchester? United, if they are not very careful, will continue on their downward slope into total mediocrity, (in some people’s eyes, they are already there)!

City, on the other hand, can afford to throw away the FA Cup in order to be able to win in the Ukraine three days later. Many people think they could have achieved the Champion’s League win without sacrificing the other trophy but, what the heck? This is City. Who cares what the fans want?

What was particularly annoying was that they had been on a very good run in this competition with some good away wins and there was a very real possibility that a stronger City team would have beaten Chelsea.

So, at least if City win the treble, it will not include the FA Cup so wouldn’t be quite the achievement of United in 1999. (more…)


The latest from the gutter press appears to be that Jose Mourinho doesn’t want the Manchester United job! Not until June anyway. That means that whatever happens between now and the end of the season can be blamed on van Gaal and van Gaal alone!

Could be a smart move, Jose and, then again, maybe not. What happens if United win the FA Cup and the Europa League? Remember that the team have now returned to winning ways and have just beaten a team sixty places below them who are struggling against relegation. According to Louis this was “fantastic”.

It does seem, unfortunately, that barring relegation and all the players handing in transfer requests, van Gaal will be there until the end of the season. Nobody appears to want to be called the “interim manager”.

There is also the Ed Woodward factor. He would be stupid enough to insist that van Gaal saw out his contract if he was given the slightest excuse and winning a trophy or two would pass for the slightest excuse. (more…)


Manchester United beating Derby County in the FA Cup at the iPro stadium was greeted by fans as a return of decent football.

The fact that Derby County occupy fifth place in the Championship and have lost their previous five games is, to a large extent, irrelevant. As is often said, you can only beat what is put in front of you.

The Cup competitions have a levelling effect. Derby, for one game, could give everything. They didn’t have to worry about dropping points, or whether or not a draw would be a good result, they could just concentrate on trying to win a one-off game of football, (unless there was a replay, of course). The fact that the game was against Manchester United just put the icing on the cake. So really, they were in a no-lose situation. A win would have put the cherry on top of the icing on the cake!

In truth they didn’t play particularly well, a fact emphasised by the scoreline, which was a reasonably fair reflection of the game.

Inevitably, the question will now arise, can Manchester United win the FA Cup?
The short answer is, yes, anybody CAN win the FA Cup. Maybe the question should be WILL they win it? That is the more difficult to answer. (more…)


(United’s other scorer, Daley Blind, would have been in this photo but he was out of position!)

Yet another “last game in charge” passes by for Louis van Gaal and he still remains in the Old Trafford hotseat! Mind you, if he doesn’t get sacked after losing games at home he is hardly likely to be removed after a 3-1 win away in the FA Cup.

It is reaching the stage now where nobody knows what he has to do to lose this job. Maybe wear a David Moyes mask, as he managed to lose the job with a better record than the Dutchman! Tonight though, was not going to be the last time the Dutchman was sat in the Manchester United dugout.

Having surrendered places in the Champion’s League, the Capital One Cup and the top four of the Premier League, United, at this precise moment in time, only have the Europa League and FA Cup left to play for. So both take on added importance, particularly as the Europa League winners will be granted entry into the Champion’s League next season. Having said that, the United faithful will take a trophy of any description at present!

Before the game Louis van Gaal had said that he hoped that the players would take their form and confidence from the training ground into the match. The problem with training is that it tends to be concentrated on the next opponents so in this case that would have been Derby County. (more…)


(Rasputin would have been proud of Louis’ survival instincts!)

Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was a Russian peasant, known as the “Mad Monk”, although he only spent three months in a monastery. He claimed he had powers of mystic healing and prediction. Using these powers he somehow contrived to heal the Royal family’s son of haemophilia. This elevated him into being accepted by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Tsarina Aleksandra as, after four girls, this was their only son and heir who’s life he had saved.

The problem was that it made the other high-powered natives restless. They thought that Rasputin was using his new found influence to run Russia as the Tsarina was a really big fan and hung onto his every word. So they decided to do what was always decided to do back then, they decided to get rid of him.

After poisoning him with potassium cyanide, shooting him three times, (once in the head hitting the brain, once in the chest hitting the stomach and liver and once in the back hitting the kidneys), and beating him with a 2lb dumbell they finally managed to kill him by tying him up and throwing him over a bridge into the nearby river. Even then he only died because the river froze over him while he was unconscious, as they didn’t bother to weigh him down with anything!

2016 will be the one hundredth anniversary of his death so it seems only fitting to say a few words about the reincarnated version of Rasputin, namely Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal. (more…)


Manchester United need to win the FA Cup. Not to keep Louis van Gaal in a job because, if United finish outside of the top four, he will leave as a failure. The reason they need to win it is for their own confidence and self-belief.

If they finish the season empty handed and, as is expected, van Gaal leaves, there will be more doubts than definites and more pessimism than optimism. No Champion’s League football next season, as with last, would not be a total disaster. It would, however, demonstrate how far United have fallen since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

United have a chance of picking up two trophies this season, (three if you count the Premier League, which they are not good enough to win). They could win the Europa League and maybe should take it seriously as it is another route into the Champion’s League. As already mentioned they should be trying all-out to win the FA Cup. The fans will forgive boring, inept performances if trophies are won, (for a short while anyway). If nothing is won and the performances are not good then expect the fans to get on the player’s backs, after the manager of course.

The problem facing United at present is that they don’t appear to have improved. They scraped into fourth position last season, meaning they had to qualify for the Champion’s League. They were then eliminated very tamely and softly from a relatively easy group, AFTER having spent £258 million on new players! (more…)