Man United’s best result in Europe? Keown had a point…

Date published: Thursday 8th November 2018 2:41

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Keown had a point
Like many I scoffed when Keown proclaimed last night’s result as Manchester United’s finest; how dare he undermine legends of old and place Jose on a pedestal above Busby and Fergie. On the face of it he was simply caught up in the moment when trying to earn his crust as a commentator by delivering a bold and rousing statement to mark the occasion, it was as much impulsive as it was uninformed but could maybe be forgiven due to his lack of United allegiance.

In a moment of quiet reflection however, I think he may have actually been right. Yes United have triumphed in more important games, I could wax lyrical about 68, 99 and 08 and make a case for the Cup Winners Cup or Europa League wins, however these victories are tempered with the level of expectation attached to them. Whilst no club has a divine right to win European competitions, in the years mentioned above United would always be considered to be in with a chance and any win would hardly send shock-waves around the continent.

Last night however, suggesting United were even underdogs is a tad generous, if we’re honest they were rank outsiders and that’s why it stands alone and why Keown had a valid point. United have beaten big clubs before but never when they’ve lined up as markedly inferior opponents. Turin in 99 is the obvious case study due to the chief protagonists, United being 2-0 down on the night with Juve having an away goal in hand left United with a mountain to climb, but when the draw was made a United progression over 2 legs was not beyond the realms of possibility.

The only comparable performance is the Robson inspired victory over Maradona’s Barcalona in 1984, but even when a United victory appears unlikely Old Trafford acts as a great leveller where there is always an expectation to at least compete.

It may only have been an indecisive 4th round group game that will count for nothing come final reckoning, but this was a victory that should be celebrated and remembered for its merits. United’s resources will always precede them but in purely footballing terms this was as close to a giant-killing as United are ever likely to achieve. Going against the grain somewhat, I applaud Mr Keown for his insight and apologise on behalf of my fellow scoffers.

In conclusion, I rest uncomfortable knowing Martin Keown is one step ahead, Jose may not be the fraud we dared to suspect, Martial is a joy to behold and Juan Mata is a beautiful beautiful man.
Paul, Manchester


Luck here, chief
In response to Dino (Pogba & Sanchez should leave)Kantardzic in this morning’s mailbox. I started off by agreeing with much of what you said in your opening paragraph. Yes Juve should of probably had 3 goals but for the grace of the woodwork and some poor finishing. You kind of contradict yourself though by then saying we played well in parts and I’d argue that was down to Martial and Sanchez, the latter who you surmise as being “sh*t”.  Like you asked Winterburn, what game were you watching? Sanchez has given us far more energy and tempo in attack than Lukaku. Even last night I started to see some kind of understanding forming with Martial. I was very happy with his input in an extremely tough fixture in Turin.

As for Pogba, yes last night was a poor showing from him compared to what he is able to show, but again… “sh*t” and “sh*t since coming?” He won us the free which Mata converted and was right on the back of Sandro for the own goal winner. Looking at the stats from last night, of the respective midfield and attacking players on show last night, only Pjanic  really put him to shame with regards touches on the night with 98 to Pogbas 69 touches respectively. If your judging Pogba overall, no player set up more of Zlatans goals than Pogba, he topped our assists chart last season and this season he’s managed more touches in the premier league for United than any other, more passes completed, more key passes, most passes completed in the opposition half and of the total 26 goals we’ve scored this season, Pogba has been directly involved in 9 goals (5 scored and 4 assists). He’s without a doubt in the running for our player of the season so far alongside Martial and Shaw. Incredible we’ve supporters still spewing out clichéd nonsense.

The fact you suggest Lukaku is our best attacking option currently even over Martial is laughable. Martial’s returns put him to shame really when your looking at goals to mins ratio. If Jose has any sense and I think he might finally be seeing the light, that our best front 3 are a mix of Martial, Sanchez, Rashford, Lingard and Mata with Lukaku as a sub option (to be utilized, similarly to Fellaini).

In summary, yes we did get a bit of luck in the end with the winner but sometimes you need some luck. We rode our luck in 99, did you complain then? Why bother complaining now? Easily Jose’s biggest result to date when you consider this, United are only the 2nd team to beat Juventus in Turin since 2013. United are one of only 4 teams to register a win in Turin since 2004! Real, Bayern and Deportivo are the others.

Just enjoy the win!
KTL, Dub Red!


Reiss is dece
I must be the only person in England that didn’t watch the United game – but well done to them and all that.

My attention was taken by Hoffenheim, who have one Reiss Nelson in their ranks. Our boy came on as a second half substitute with his team two down and with only 10 men.

I’m sure there will be many gooners, taking a look at the result that will think our boy’s introduction was instrumental to the German side’s comeback but in truth it wasn’t – he didn’t have a hand in either goal.

However, it was wonderful to see how the rest of his teammates trust him with the ball and he did look dangerous on the flank and certainly not out of place in a Champions League encounter.

In short, I would really like to see him stay at Hoffenheim until the end of the season before returning to Arsenal and taking Welbeck’s place in the squad.

So maybe – sell Ramsey rather than Welbeck in January allowing Danny his big money move for free in the summer.

While Ramsey’s the cash cow as Danny won’t command a big transfer fee, it’s actually Welbeck that looks the better player in our squad right now.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


I wondered if Saint Raheem of Stockport’s shocking if unintentional piece of simulation and subsequent failure to own up would be glossed over in favour of Jose being a bit of a petulant arse, and was not let down.
Well done guys, keep that agenda rolling.
Chris, MUFC.

(MC – we can only include emails we are sent, Chris. Perhaps next time we will receive emails about Sterling, instead of emails complaining about a lack of emails about Sterling)


Don’t pound Sterling
Leaving aside the usual tabloid anti-Sterling nastiness (as per Mediawatch) here’s some thoughts on the (non) penalty last night

Firstly, it could have just been that Raheem looks up, sees the ref has given the pen and in his confusion thinks ‘perhaps the guy did make contact after all, and they’ve seen something I didn’t feel myself’. Unlikely in this case, I know, but you could see how that might happen

Secondly – how many occasions can you think of when a ref has turned down a penalty has the defender turned round and said ‘Actually ref, I did foul him, it’s probably best that you give that one’ – no, me neither

Remember the Mike Atherton / Allan Donald incident in the cricket, when Atherton was criticised for not walking when he had gloved the ball to the keeper? Atherton’s philosophy on it was simple – you leave it up to the officials and accept the good decisions with the bad in equal measure. The bowling teams were never going to hand back the dodgy decisions in their favour, so why should you be sporting and remove your own good luck when the bad luck wasn’t going to be removed in return?

It may not be the attitude of a paragon of sporting virtue, but it at least keeps things in balance

Leave Sterling alone on this one, put simply this is an argument for better officiating – no more, no less
Rob, Bristol Gooner 


Brain fart
Ryan, Kildare says you can “prove anything with stats” and he’s quite right.

In the 21 games prior to Željko Buvač leaving Liverpool they scored 51 goals and in the subsequent 21 they have scored 36.

Now is that down to the guy leaving or just the quality of the opposition?

In those first 21 games the toughest teams Liverpool faced where United and Chelsea, then in terms of quality probably Sevilla twice and Everton twice.

So 2 real top tier games, some that they should probably win and a lot of dross including Maribor twice

Now those second set of 21 games includes games against Arsenal, Chelsea, City (3 times), Napoli, Roma (x2), PSG, Real Madrid and Spurs.

So over half those games have been against very good teams.

If I were to draw a conclusion it would be that it’s harder to score against good teams like Real Madrid than it is to score against crap ones like Maribor.

Not saying that they haven’t dropped off this season but I’d look elsewhere Ryan.


Sh*thouse Sergio
How? How does he get away with it game after game? His red card record, while still being tagged a “world class” defender by some, is truly astonishing, but if he were to be correctly carded for the things that Referees miss, he’d have easily trebled that total. His ‘it wasn’t me guv, honest’ look after every altercation is Oscar-worthy.

His medal haul may scream winner, but I hope that when people look back on his career, they remember the crossed-the-line sh*thousery first and foremost. A jammy sod, born just when the rest of Spain’s player output got exceptionally good and shamelessly piggybacked off it. That may not be the truth of the matter, but he sure makes it hard to judge otherwise.


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