Who would have thought that one of the richest teams in the world and last season’s Premiership champions would be tucking the tails between their legs and heading home. Well that is the reality facing both the huge Manchester teams, United and City who are going head to head in all competitions this year. But the big one the one that every team in Europe is after has escaped the clutches of supreme wealth and arguably the greatest manager in football.
Final third sharpness
United’s team for such an important match looked as if it lacked the final third sharpness that would have been required to topple what was not a tough opponent. FC Basle with all respect are not one of the better teams in the Champions League, but last night they may have pulled off one of their greatest feats to send them into the second round.
While Manchester United look like a team in transition, having to cope with some big name prolific players in Scholes, Van der Sar and the older Neville, Manchester City could have been excused for their departure. Despite the deep pockets their owners have, nothing beats playing experience in the biggest club competition in the world.
The early planes home look bad for both sides, City have a team full of big named stars and a manager who appears to know what he is doing. For United it is another blow, throwing the younger players into such an important match has shown that they are not at the level yet that many would have thought.
City and United face the prospect of the Europa Cup, for United this may be a tough pill to swallow with the extra games and the travelling to who knows where could really put a spanner in their effort to keep hold of their league title but provides an opportunity to blood young talent.
Chased down leaders
This will probably be the focus for both team, City who are top of the table would love to end up ahead of their rivals while United are looking to retain the league and if possible put City firmly back in the second spot behind them.
With the season far from over, but closer to the months were mistakes become amplified and form can come and go quickly through the pressure that will be felt, it will take a big effort from City to maintain their lead.
Who can forget the Manchester United charge of the 90s where they chased down leaders to snatch the league title at the last minute. Although it’s not the 90s, but the spirit in the United team remains.