I cannot contain my excitement that our boys in red will be back on the pitch this Friday. Even though it will be weird without fans, football is back baby! But what does it all mean? What’s at stake for the club? For the players?
What’s Left to Play For?
As we all know, there are 9 games left in the premier league season. 9 games to supplant Chelsea who sit in 4th, just 3 points ahead of United. It goes without saying United MUST make the Champions League. Beyond all the normal reasons, the financial implications of missing out on the CL again are huge.
If you read John’s article detailing the financial shit-show the Glazers have put us in, you understand why financially the Champions League is paramount. Especially in this time of COVID-19 and playing without fans. Making Champions League also gives us more of a chance to make the big signings we all hope United make, regardless. The run in for the club is among the “easiest” compared to our rivals for top 4. Sadly, it’s been these moments that United has faltered of late. It’s time this team remember who they are and start handling business. It is in their hands.
Outside of the league, Manchester United have the FA Cup and the Europa League to win. I want to see us go all out for both of these cups. This club is about winning trophies (right, Moyes?!), and winning trophies builds confidence. Unlike with Mourinho and Van Gaal, there is a real sense that the club are sticking with Ole and giving him a real shot at getting us back on our damn perch.
OGS comes from a time when the FA Cup was a massive deal and he will want to win that. Young players who haven’t tasted victory in a cup would gain immense experience and hunger. Hunger for more. As for the Europa League, it is simply there for the taking. Even if United make Champions League via league finish or City ban being upheld, we should still push to bring another trophy home. Liverpool will try to throw it back in our face that it would be a “Mickey Mouse” double, but they can go to hell. We NEED to win trophies.
Ole’s at the Wheel
The final games of the 2019/20 season are massive for the gaffer. We have all seen and even debated (argued) over whether he is the right man. I myself was on the fence about him. I’m still not 100% sold he’s the right guy, but the last 11 games I began to see something I had not seen all year. A style. A pattern of play that looked organized.
We could see what the team was trying to do and with the addition of Bruno it was finally coming together. So I am hopeful he has turned a corner as a manager. Because last year we blew it in crunch time. We are in crunch time again and this go around we need to see that Ole is up for the job and can handle the immense pressure of getting this team back to where it belongs.
Obviously the players need to step up, but attitude reflects leadership. If this team clinches Champions League and makes real runs in the cups, I’ll be all Ole in. Which of course is what he wants most, my individual support right?
Will the Real Paul Pogba (“Jogba”) Please Stand Up?!
He’s back. He’s healthy. Physically at least. But where is his head? Has the corona crisis lessened his chances of a move? Only time will tell, but if Paul has any sense, he will go all out over these final games, whether that’s from the bench or as a starter. He and his agent know that United will not sell him cheap.
Regardless of how he plays. If he really wants a move away, then he needs to show what he’s capable of, so potential clubs do whatever it takes to pry him away. Now what if he realized he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon? Well the answer is the same. Show what you can do so Ole has no choice but to play you.
He still needs to play and be in form for the Euros next summer, so he can’t afford to pout and moan if he doesn’t get his desired move. He should be motivated to get back in this side as the midfield has slowly become a strength of the team. With a guy like Bruno on the other side, Pogba could have more freedom than ever before. If all we get is more “Jogba”, then good riddance.
Minimum / Maximum Expectations
Minimum– Push Chelsea all the way, hold onto 5th and pray CAS upholds the ban on Shity. Deep runs in the cups. If not, we need Europa at the minimum.
MAXIMUM– Jump Chelsea and put a scare in Leicester for 3rd. Win Europa League and FA Cup. Head into 2020/21 season with serious momentum.
What I’ll settle for is making the Champions League one way or the other. But only if that means this team fought to the end and made every team pause and reflect on who they just played.
Football is back. Our boys are back. Glory, Glory, Man United!