Some things you take for granted when it comes to football, You will get as much added time at Old Trafford as Sir Alex says you will have, Arsenal will have a goalkeeper that flaps around like a fish out of water just when you need him to be solid, and Manchester United will make it through to the knockout phase of the Champions League.
However tonight we were reminded that football is an unpredictable affair. Manchester United crash out of the Champions League apparently borrowing a keeper who looks like he should be playing for the Gunners, inexplicably trying to clear the ball with his feet and then being off guard while Basel run them ragged (again) and come away with a 2-1 win, snatching the qualification place away from United. Needless to say Sir Alex was not a happy man.
The blue half of Manchester were in truth unlucky not to qualify. 10 points is a good haul and after winning on the night 2-0 they were hoping for a favor elsewhere. Napoli dashed their hopes and crashed City out of the Champions League. What does this mean for the Premier League with both first and second place teams playing Europa League football on a Thursday and then the Prem on the Sunday? Excuses is what this means, any defeat or under-par performance will be met with the “well we had to play in Europe on Thursday, we were tired” oh boo hoo, excuse me while I don’t shed a tear for you.
Arguably the biggest shock of the night was Lyon going in at half time 1-0 down only to come out and smash home 7 goals unanswered in 30 minutes to seal their place in the knockout phase. 7 goals. seven. incredible. They only managed 9 in the whole campaign!
Manchester United feel they are too good for the Europa League, this was clear from the press conference after the game, but you know what lads, the table doesn’t lie, you aren’t. Get over it, you didn’t even have a group as hard as City, and at least they have said “yeah you know what, we will just go out and win the Europa League, it’s still a good trophy”, which is a much better attitude, so hats off to you.
Not that it matters anyway, none of the English teams could beat Real Madrid or Barcelona anyway!