Man Utd and Man City Crash Out of the Champions League Group Stage

December 8, 2011 - by mosesbet · Filed Under sports news Leave a Comment 

Lancashire was left in a despondent mood last night after both Manchester clubs (Manchester City and Manchester Utd) failed to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

Manchester City won 2-0 against Bayern Munich at home last night, however a 2-0 away win for Napoli against Villa Real meant that Manchester City would finish 3rd regardless.

In Switzerland, Man Utd’s fate was in their own hands.  Man Utd only needed a draw against FC Basel to go into the knockout stage, however a 2-1 loss has meant Man Utd have failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2005.

For the first time in recent history, only 2 English teams will be represented in the Champions League knockout stages.

Has Europe Caught Up with English Dominance in the Champions League?

In the post-match analysis, many pundits from ITV and Sky Sports discussed whether both the top teams in English football’s premature exit from the Champions League Group Stage signalled that the rest of Europe has caught up with the dominance of the Premier League.

Manchester Utd have been present in 3 of the last 4 Champions League Finals (winning in 2008 and then losing to Barcelona in 2009 and 2010), while Chelsea and Man Utd’s presence at the Semi-Final stage was virtually guaranteed just a few years ago.  Back then, you’d have got favourable odds of around 5:2 for Chelsea or Man Utd winning the Champions League at any recommended online sportsbooks such as Bet365.

However, we seem to have reached a new age of English football.  Chelsea and Arsenal are both tams in transition, Man Utd lack the rock solid defence that characterised them in the past (before last night, they had gone 18 away games in the Champions League without losing, and only conceded 2 goals in the group stage last year), Liverpool have failed to make it into the Champions League for the last two years, and Manchester City are a new team that has yet to learn its trades in Europe.

After losing to Basel and subsequently crashing out of the Champions League group stage, Sir Alex Ferguson blamed their mistakes in the home game against Basel, which they drew 2-2 after leading 2-0, for United’s departure.

However, while I think you can blame “mistakes” for losing or drawing individual games, you cannot blame “mistakes” for Man Utd’s failure to qualify from their group.  They have simply been too poor this season, have conceded far too many goals and have let too many leads slip.  Wayne Rooney has also been in pretty poor form since the first 2 months of the season.

A hoard of new signings at the back of team such as Phil Jones (aged 19, who’s played every single match for Man Utd), Chris Smalling (21), David De Gea (23) and the prevalent injuries of Vidic and Ferdinand is what have caused United to fail in the Champions League this season.  A strong Champions League team needs an experienced, rock solid defence with a god partnership at the back.  I feel that Manchester Utd have missed this in their team since the beginning of the season, and they have paid the price for it.  In previous seasons, Utd had the added experience and utility of Wes Brown and John Oshea.  This season however, Sir Alex seems to have mellowed up and fielded a slightly weaker, smaller and subsequently less dangerous team during set-plays.

When you first took a look at their group (Basel, Benfica and Otelul Galati), there is no way you’d expect Man Utd to draw 3 and lose 1 of those games. Realistically, you’d expect Man Utd to get at least 7 poins at home, and then 4 points away (11 points total) to advance from that group, so to only earn 9 points after 6 games is a complete disaster.

That being said, Utd still have a strong team for the future and they will return.  Spanish U21 keeper David De Gea, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Fabio and Rafa Da Silva, will all get better.  However, this season it seems Ferguson fielded a slightly too naïve and inexperienced team during the campaign.




Be Sociable, Share!