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Is the Champions League Manchester United's best chance at silverware this season?

Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Now, I know what you're thinking. What is this clown on about? Well, hear me out...

Manchester United Football Club have been on a huge downward spiral since Sir Alex Ferguson decided to hang up the clipboard. That much is obvious. Things were expected to get better under Jose Mourinho. After an excellent debut season for the Portuguese, things haven't gone as planned. Third-season syndrome is kicking in. Don't be surprised to see him lose his job before Christmas.

The Red Devils are a club with a glistening trophy cabinet. Winning silverware is an expectation at Old Trafford rather than a hope. Domestically, things are already looking bleak for United. The Carabao Cup is already gone. Derby County deserved their victory at the Theatre of Dreams last week. Then you have the Premier League. Mourinho's men sit ten points off the pace already. Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are flying. Do you really think that the Manchester club can overturn that deficit? Not a chance. That gap is only heading one way.

Perhaps you can make an argument for the FA Cup. United did indeed reach the final last season. It's a competition they've tended to do well in. I don't fancy them this year, and I'm going to put this on the fans. Look at how empty the ground was during United's defeat to Derby last week. Supporters just can't get excited about taking on a lower league team in a domestic competition. The ground was like a morgue. It was quiet, dull and uninspiring. I can see a repeat situation happening if, say, a Birmingham City or a Blackburn Rovers visited. The proof is in the pudding. Look at the horrific defeats United have had to so-called 'smaller' sides recently. MK Dons, Derby, Sheffield United and Bristol Rovers, just to name a few...

Then, you have the greatest trophy in European football. The Champions League...

While I'll criticise the Old Trafford faithful on cold Tuesday nights in the Carabao Cup, that stadium becomes a completely different kettle of fish when the Champions League rolls around.

I've been lucky enough to witness some stunning evenings in said stadium. FC Barcelona went there and lost 1-0 thanks to Paul Scholes. Real Madrid went there and won 2-1 thanks to Cuneyt Cakir. That stadium, that crowd, is mesmerising come February in continental competition. I'd fully expect it to be the same again (provided they get there). Make no mistake about it, if the players perform with no fear, they're good enough to beat anyone, they're good enough to overturn any deficit upon Salford Quays...

They've made the perfect start. Getting three points on the board away from home, beating Young Boys 3-0, was impressive. It was United's best performance this season. That cannot be questioned.

The draw has been somewhat kind to them, too... Valencia CF visits Manchester this evening. Win that, you're sitting pretty on six points - probably alongside Juventus. That'd leave the other two teams on zero points. The encounters between the Red Devils and the Old Lady would be for nothing but the top spot in the group. Sure, those games will be close, tight-knit encounters. I wouldn't bet against United getting the job done at home - whether Ronaldo is eligible or not.

Indeed, they'll need a little (or a lot of) luck along the way. By no means am I making them my favourites for this competition, I'm merely stating that it's their best chance at silverware (albeit still a long shot). Who knows, if they've found themselves a new manager going into the new year, the players could be inspired all the way to eternal glory.

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Jordan Street

Jordan Street, 25-year old sports writer. Avid Manchester United fan and season ticket holder. Lover of the Premier League. Enjoys American sports. Tom Brady's biggest admirer, Kyrie Irving for MVP.


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