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January 20, 2019

Well done Devils, although I still want you to lose at some point

Manchester United's Robin van Persie
Manchester United's Robin van Persie

Congratulations Manchester United for qualifying for the quarter finals of the Uefa Champions League. Incidentally on Wednesday, before the game, I posted on my facebook page that there was an outside chance that Manchester United could win the Champions League this term?

Yes. They are just very inconsistent this season but when they want to play a good game; as they did on Wednesday night, they do.

Some United fans observed that for once you could see the players were playing for someone other than themselves; with the conclusion being that Sir Alex Ferguson had stepped in to manage them for the week. Some on my facebook page said it wasn’t possible for players to change so much between Sunday’s embarrassing loss to Liverpool, and the victory over Olympiakos.

The attitude of the squad was so different, reminiscent of “The Fergie era.” Whatever the reason, it was refreshing to see Man United back but I still want them to get beaten at some point.

I have double-checked that whole issue of whether the Champions League winner gets to defend their title if they don’t finish in the top four of the EPL; and apparently they will. What won’t happen, as happened to Liverpool when they finished fifth, was that England won’t be allowed to have more than four teams in the European tournament.

The year Liverpool won and had to defend their title, England had five representatives in the tournament. This time; should a miracle happen and United win the Champions League, the team that finishes fourth will be relegated to Europa. And we all know which team is likely to finish fourth.

But the up side for whoever will finish fourth is that Manchester United could be up against Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the likes in the quarters, so realistically they won’t win Europe. They just cannot sustain the spirit needed to conquer the big boys.

Now I’m used to eating my words and it’s that time again. A while ago I said that Arsenal were no longer title contenders because we were slipping and other teams were rising.

But after Chelsea lost to Aston Villa last weekend, much to my glee, I find myself hopeful again. Also because no-one has ever stopped calling Liverpool title contenders and yet we are equal on points. This weekend’s tie with Chelsea will confirm to me whether Arsenal are still in the race or not.

Many critics are just waiting for Man City to play their one million games in hand, but points in the bag are more valuable than games not yet played. And we have seen City go down to strange teams this season. I’ll say more about this during my predictions tomorrow.

For now though I need to find a name for the way referees in the English premier league behaved last weekend. It was complete comedy. From the Vincent Kompany red card, to the Chelsea fiasco – although I think Willian was on the pitch for far too long in that game; to the 4,000 penalties awarded to Liverpool at Old Trafford. Can you come up with a name or description for that strange behaviour?

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