I wrote this blog last year the morning that United were set to contest the second leg of their Champions League tie against PSG. The hey, crazier things have happened, why not us? blog.
It was about 80% tongue in cheek 19% hopeful and 1% mayyyybeee serious. United were without 10 senior players for that match. Those included injuries to Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, and Nemanja Matic, four players who had been crucial to United’s early resurgence under Solskjaer. Paul Pogba, the talisman, was suspended for picking up a red card in the first leg.
That meant that Scott McTominay, who had been dropped to the U23s for the first leg of this tie was going to start. He, among other less than ideal options in midfield.
Here’s a sample of what I wrote.
Instead of focusing on what’s missing let’s focus on what we have. That Scott McTominay-Andreas Pereira-Fred midfield was half decent against Championship side Reading, surely they can be up for the challenge of PSG! Romelu Lukaku is on form with four goals in the past two games (against Crystal Palace and Southampton)!
That’s right! We can take solace in the fact that we’ve done this before! Lukaku bagged a few braces against crap teams so clearly he can bag one against the mighty PSG. Guess what? He did!
McTominay-Pereira-Fred were half decent against Reading so they would be able to handle PSG’s midfield. Guess what? They did!
Well now we’re in the same boat. We’re coming off a 6-0 DRUBBING of Tranmere Rovers on a mud filled pitch. Clearly we’re ready for City. Anthony Martial scored a goal in that game, his first open play goal when Marcus Rashford wasn’t on the field. He’s ready for City!
Also on the scoresheet was Jesse Lingard, his first domestic goal since the fourth round of last year’s FA Cup. We’ve had some false downs with Lingard already this year but certainly this one could be the real thing! He’s ready to go!
We’ve already won at the Ethiad this year, now we face a City team that is fuming with overconfidence. They thought they took their foot off the gas in the second half of the first leg at Old Trafford but in reality, it was Nemanja Matic who came on the field and changed the game. We’ve got this.
So yes this United team has injuries but so did last years team. By now the team knows how to play without Paul Pogba. Scott McTominay is the best big game midfielder but someone else will just have to step up. Marcus Rashford’s injury is a big blow but it’s also just an opportunity for this squad to show the ‘next man up’ mentality.
Why can’t we go in to the Ethiad, keep a clean sheet, bag a couple of goals (maybe Dan James wins a penalty?) and take this thing to penalties? From there, it’s anyones game.
In 2014 the New York Rangers fell behind three games to one in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They came back from 3-1 down, something that only 26 teams before them had ever managed to do.
A year later the Rangers were the best regular season team but found themselves in the same boat, 3-1 down to the Washington Capitals in the second round. No one panicked. This happened last year and they came back, surely they’ll do it again. Most fans were even confident they’d come back! Why? That’s ridiculous. It’s a comeback that rarely happens! Now you think they’re just going to do it two years in a row? Guess what? They did it.
Why not us? Come on, we’ve got this. Let’s go to Wembley!