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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Europa League Final

We have done it! Not only have we won the one trophy missing from our very packed trophy cabinet, Manchester United will also play in the Champions League next season.

In a game which would undoubtedly determine the success of our season, we managed to live up to our expectations and win a major European trophy. A loss today would have been a disaster, leaving us with only a league cup and 6th place to show for this season. However, this win means that we have also won a major European trophy and qualified for Champions League football next season. This season can be seen as a success.

A quick and bright start from United led to an early mix up between the Ajax back line and goalkeeper. The ball fell kindly to Paul Pogba who's volley fell just wide of the post. As we kept pushing for the opener, the chance finally came. In the 18th minute, a long range effort from Paul Pogba found the back of the net with the help of a deflection from Sanchez.

We continued to be the team on top and most likely to score but as always, we were finding it hard to capitalise and get that all important second goal. We had a few shaky moments at the back when we allowed the Ajax attackers to walk through our defence, but apart from those occasional moments, we were solid.

We could not have asked for a better start to the second half as Mkhitaryan doubled United's lead within three minutes. Smalling headed down a corner for Mkhitaryan to flick the ball in from close range. Our European hero has produced again, this time in the most important game of our season.

Not allowing Ajax to create any real chances, Manchester United saw out the rest of the game and proved to be deserving winners of the Europa League.

Today's win means that United will be playing in the Champions League next season (pot 2). Although most will say that this season has been poor and a failure, we have still managed to win three trophies and will be playing on the big stage next season. There is no doubt that we should have been better in the league, but most importantly we have have a successful season and won trophies, the one thing which really counts.

Overall, we have ended the season on a high. After a painful last few seasons, things are looking bright for Manchester United. With several world class players in our club, and a winner managing it, we have what it takes to make our mark next season. Also, going into the summer transfer window we can now attract the best players in the world. We are a club with a history of winning and a future which looks bright! Lets look forward to next season!


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Manchester United vs Celta Vigo

Follow, follow, follow, 
Coz United are going to Stockholm, 
There will be thousands of Reds, 
And we'll be p*ssed out our heads , 
Coz United are going to Stockholm...

We have done it! We have reached the Europa League final! A nervous 2-1 win over Celta Vigo over two legs is enough to secure Manchester United's place in their first European final since the Fergie Era. 

As Celta Vigo started on the front foot, searching for a goal to pull them equal, Manchester United held on and soaked up the pressure until they could break on the counter attack. We managed to break the deadlock early on in the game with Fellaini heading United into the lead on the night after an inch perfect, exceptional ball by Marcus Rashford. An early goal is exactly what we needed to calm our nerves.

It was clear that United needed another goal. Throughout the season we have been criticised for not being able to put the game to bed, and that was the same again today. We were getting the occasional chance, but nothing clear cut. Our players were reluctant to go forwards and we just let Celta Vigo keep attacking our final third. 

Inevitably, Celta Vigo pulled one back in the 85th minute as Roncaglia scored a header to make it 1-1 (2-1). This score meant that Vigo needed to score only one goal to make it through to the final on away goals.

The pressure got too much for the players on the pitch as a heated argument led to two red cards. An incident between Bailly and Roncaglia (the goalscorer) led to both players being given a straight red card from the referee. This means that Bailly will miss the Europa League final. What a big miss it will be for United as Bailly has been our best defender all season. 

Four minutes into added time, Ander Herrera put the ball in the back of the net but the goal was disallowed. Then, in the final play of the game, Guidetti couldn't get his feet in order to win the tie for Celta and put the ball into an open goal and consequently, Manchester United will be the team to face Ajax in Stockholm. 

Although today's performance was completely unconvincing and we were lucky to go through, all that matters is that our hopes for another trophy and Champions League football next season are still alive. If we fail to win in the final, this season will be looked upon as a failure and Jose will fall to some criticism for putting all of his eggs in the Europa League 'basket'. 

However, it is all dependent on which United team turns up. If it is the team which we saw today (and have seen most of the season), missing chances and failing to kill off the game, then a defeat seems most likely. But if it is the team which showed the passion and desire to beat Chelsea, then there is no doubt that we will be lifting the Europa League trophy in 13 days time.