Manchester United are 11 points behind Liverpool in the race for the fourth Champions League spot – A.K.A. The Holy Grail.
Even if Manchester United were playing well, and Liverpool’s form was patchy, this would be an almost insurmountable gap. But with Liverpool playing like title contenders, and Manchester United yet to put one really convincing performance in all season, we might as well assume that the race is over for United.
The only way that they are going to be playing Champions League football next season is if, like Chelsea two years ago, they win the big one – The European Cup.
If you saw the way in which Barcelona dismantled a Manchester City side, who are currently streets ahead of United, on Tuesday night then you may well find the idea of Manchester United winning The Champions League laughable.
But Manchester United have to believe that they can do it. Noone, and we mean noone, gave Chelsea a chance of winning it in 2012 when they looked hopeless at the turn of the year. But, with solidarity and a bit of luck, they got there. So it’s not beyond a Manchester United side who were, lest we forget, crowned champions of England in May.
What the Manchester United boss absolutely has to do is pick the right formation and the right players. Juan Mata is out of the equation this season so David Moyes simply has to use the creativity of Kagawa and Januzaj in Europe.
He also needs to play in a narrower formation. Manchester United no longer have the sort of quality out wide to inflict lasting damage. The 4-2-3-1 is played by most top teams in Europe and Manchester United simply have to adopt it. It will make better use of the talent that they do have and also make them more solid in the middle – where they have been overrun at times this season.
So we think that the team pretty much picks itself for The Champions League this season. If Vidic and Rio are fit then they simply have to have their swan song together in the remaining European matches. Play the other centre backs in domestic games but keep those two fit for Europe. The only real question for us is whether Fellaini or Jones starts in the defensive midfield role alongside Carrick. We will plump for Fellaini for now and give him a last chance to prove his value to this Manchester United team.
So here is the Manchester United team with the best chance to conquer Europe this season. Do you agree?
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Rafael, Carrick, Fellaini, Kagawa, Rooney, Januzaj, RvP
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