With both English clubs in need of a Toca's Miracle away at Bayern Munich and Barcelona this week, Daniel Storey picks ten comebacks from Champions League history to inspire them¿
Arsenal's frenetic start in the first leg had Bayern rattled before Wojciech Szczesny's sending-off. Playing with the same creativity and fearless streak would engender real belief...
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Who Could He Be Talking About?
Please don't go.
Why Would Mata Join United?
As a United fan the potential of Mata is very exciting. However I can't see it happening. The thing is why would Mata join United? I'm sure if really available he'd have options but if he goes to United he certainly won't be winning any trophies this season.
We might win the League Cup (highly unlikely) however he would be cup-tied for the final. We might win the Champions League (extremely unlikely) however he would be ineligible to play. We are out of the FA Cup.
So that leaves the league and we're playing for 4th and probably won't get it. It's not really an exciting offer for Mata when you think of it. Maybe at 25 he might go for the idea that over 10 or so years he could become a United legend but is that enough to woo him?
Personally I think he'll go somewhere like PSG. Warm weather, trophies guaranteed, Champions League and playing under a football genius in Laurent Blanc rather than bumbing Moyes.
Better For Moyes To Lose?
I have been wondering about this for a few days and Sunday kind of confirmed it.
For Man Utd and especially Moyes's sake it would be better if they don't go through tonight.
Honestly I think they could get hammered by 5 or 6 by City and that surely would be worse than narrowly going out tonight.
What do United fans think?
Steve, Limerick, Ireland
Juan F**king Mata
Refusing to buy Ozil in the summer and now desperate to sign Mata in Winter. At almost the same fees. Boy! United, Moyes and Woodward sure do have the grasp of this transfer business. Take a bow.
Donnie (I am sure Mata's price is actually hyped by 4mil just to maintain the symmetry) MUFC
Would Juanny Want To Work With Moyesy?
Over the past 24hrs the talk of Manchester United bidding for Juan Mata has intensified, even Guillem Balague claims a deal could be done this month. Many, including my good self, remain sceptical. Would Chelsea sell to United? Would United spend the thick-end of £40m on a player? Would Mata want to work under David Moyes?
I remain unconvinced purely because this story comes on the back of United's rather limp showing against Chelsea. We've heard/seen/read it all before, big team loses a big game/goes out of a cup then gets linked to a number of 'top' signings to 'fix' the problem. Mata is the perfect Patsy(hello*), he is a very good player who is reported to be unhappy and his club are willing to listen to offers. It works for both clubs too. United look like they are after a very good player and are willing to spend big while Chelsea get to, via feeding the press, slap a 'for sale' sign around Mata's neck. Indeed, Chelsea may well be hoping to exploit United's desperation for a quality signing to get a massive fee for the wee Spaniard.
I believe tonight's league cup tie with Sunderland may be the key to just how quickly this story dies. If United go through then the club will spin the victory as a 'great achievement' by David Moyes to 'reach a cup final in his first season'. This will kill the Mata story because clearly Moyes is taking the club forward and there is no need to panic. However, if United fail to set-up a all Mancunian final then it really will be interesting to see what United do. In order to appease the fans United may well buy Mata even if, like Gary Neville says, he's not exactly what they need now. Chelsea, knowing of United's situation, could pretty much say £40m or f**k-off.
If I'm right(I'm often not) then getting to the final tonight would mean not getting Mata and, in all likelihood, getting slapped-on in the final by City. However if United lose then lets say they go for Mata the question is, do United fans want to win tonight?
D. Cromwell(*old Simpsons joke)
You will probably get a few of these, but in response to Chris, Newcastle and his strong Toon ex-managers team, I think there's a few that can compete like ex Barca, Bayern or AC Milan XIs but the team to blow them all out of the water is the Ajax ex-managers XI (im not even counting the Master, Bergkamp as hes an assistant coach still). Observe:
Frank De Boer
Cor van der Hart
Johan van't schip
This team would smash anyone. I couldnt find a keeper, but they may not need one. Its pretty much 9 of the top Dutch players in history plus Morten Olsen who was pretty handy as well as Euro 84 fans can testify.
Ved, Japan (how about a player coach XI next so I can waste another afternoon)
...This will be of interest to no-one except Colchester fans, and even some of them will be bored of it halfway through. But our manager XI is more than decent. Bit ponderous in midfield but there's a Champions League, UEFA Cup winner and World Cup star in there...
Mark Kinsella (shoehorned in as assistant)
(red card) Roy McDonough
Would wipe the floor with those scumbags from Roots Hall at the very least.
John in Hackney
Is Football Ending?
Chris, London's argument over why it may be genius for Chelsea to sell Juan Mata to United may make sense if either:
1. Football is ending once and for all this season, or
2. Juan Mata has been implanted with a device which will cause him to explode three minutes into injury time in United's last game of the season.
As far as I know, neither is the case. Mata is 25 and one of the best players in his position in the world. Selling him to United may not be what one would call madness as Chris points out, he does seem to be surplus to requirements at Chelsea and they would get a boatload of cash for him but it's not exactly what I would call genius.
Clutching At Straws
As a United fan my heart bleeds to witness what has been a truly dismal season but in the spirit of positive thinking I have made a list of things that we can take from United being poo.
*We will/have finally come to the conclusion that the squad is a group of average, and in some cases well below average, players and will therefore undertake a long awaited cleaning out job. The weeding out of players such as Anderson (thank god he's finally gone), Young, Nani, Ferdinand etc. will hopefully be completed by the start of next season.
*Expectations are/will be lowered - Gives us the chance the rebuild the squad (Build an actual, legitimate midfield) and ingrain a distinct style and way of playing within the team which is something we haven't really had for a few seasons now.
*We will no longer be the hunted but will become the hunters - Clutching at straws but that's pretty much the thinking behind this entire exercise. Some teams may even underestimate us and we will be able to take them off guard on our good days.
*Youth will be given a chance. What is the bet Januzaj wouldn't have been given a chance to develop in the first team when the Great One was in charge and we were vanquishing all before us.
*Separate the real United fans from the bandwagoners - Will be good to see all those that give our club such a bad name and have been undeservedly sharing in the clubs recent success migrate over to join the City & Chelsea wagons.
Jordan (At least the cricket is going well) Adelaide, Australia
The last premier league game that was 0-0 was Arsenal v Chelsea on 23rd of December!
Just thought I'd share
We Like This Idea
Moyes is in severe danger of bowing out of the big time with a mere whimper at the end of the season unless something changes dramatically. Instead of trundling along to a mediocre 6th placed finish at best, he needs to take a massive gamble and change something big. He should sell Wayne Rooney to Chelsea.
That may sound crazy but he should sell him in exchange for Mata and Luiz. Jose couldn't care less about Mata and whilst Luiz has had some game time recently, he won't make the difference for them in terms of winning the title. The Torres injury gives Moyes the chance to put the squeeze on Mourinho to give him 2 world class players in exchange for 1 world class player who will probably go in the summer anyway.
Rooney could well be the difference between Chelsea pipping Man City to the title (already a plus point there). Chelsea would surely go for it and while it's a huge gamble for Moyes I think it's worth a go. He's already asked to leave twice, rarely gets through a season uninjured and is by all accounts not the most positive influence in the dressing room. It will be a huge statement of intent by Moyes but will show he is in absolute control. If he gets lucky, Van Persie will come back into the team and alongside Mata, Luiz and Januzaj can spearhead an end of season revival.
Slight disclaimer here, I'm a Spurs fan so be interested what Chelsea/Man Utd fans make of this. Who gets the best deal and would either or both sets of fans go for it?
David ("It could be worse, you could have Moyes" sang the City fans last night. Made me chuckle)
Should Liverpool Move For Mata?
With talks going well on Mata for United, I'm left wondering why Liverpool haven't made a move. It's not as if he can play for United in this champions league season right? And Liverpool are looking a better chance to qualify for it next season as things stand. Sure, I know it's "Man Utd", but it's not really is it? They're a shadow of the team from years past. If he does go to United, and they don't qualify for Champs League - will he stay?
Nick P, Burnley FC.
If Martin Ansell is tired of the usual post match interview dross that is served up, may I suggest he google Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman's recent post victory interview. I kept imagining Theo Walcott giving a similar interview -oh how fun the premiership would be if we had more interviews like that.
DB10, (AFC, Seahawks), Bellingham WA