Failure isn’t a chapter included in the Manchester United handbook. It simply isn’t an option. In times gone by, losing out on the title was classed as a disappointing season, so to see the Red Devils sitting not even comfortably sixth in the league, is a sight many thought was impalpable.
Some people have taken more willingly to this transition season of the club than others, with these people called non-Manchester United supporters. Social media has particularly made Moyes and the general squad the laughing stock of the season, so if the club don’t want to be the next thing advertised by Marco Pierre White, then things have to change rapidly.
Champions League is an absolute necessity for United, and through 20 years of undeniable success, Champions League football has been the underline constant maintaining the global attraction of the club. Though something potentially unappreciated at times, walking out to the UEFA Champions League anthem annually is something that can’t be stripped from the Old Trafford tannoys. At least, not without a fight.
The fight begins on an old school Super Sunday with England’s answer to the El Clásico seeing a role reversal, as the visitors, Liverpool, head to Old Trafford in the thick of a title race, to face a United side hoping to revive authentic aspirations of a top four finish this seasons. How things change in a year.
Never has the game which epitomises the success of English football held such importance. Liverpool are in a position to debut on the Premier League trophy, whereas the Red Devils are trying to avoid a debut in the Europa League group stage; a competition once referred to as ‘embarrassing’ to play in by sporadic United skipper Patrice Evra, before they were knocked out in the last 16 courtesy of a two-legged drubbing at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.
With both teams likely to play a bank of four in midfield, reverting to classic 4-4-2 formation’s for a match that’s been defined by an alumni of attacking legends for both clubs over the years, I think the partnerships in attack and defence will shape the outcome of the match.
A centre-back pairing of Evans and Smalling tamed the seemingly unstoppable strike partnership of Suarez and Sturridge in the Capitol One cup at Old Trafford earlier this season during a 1-0 win for Moyes’ boys, but with the former still nursing a calf injury, it seems last week’s pairing of Jones and Smalling may feature, as Moyes prepares for life without Inter-bound Vidic. Though both budding England defenders, hotly contesting spots on the plane to Brazil, the flammable SAS partnership may prove too much for the adolescent duo, if selected come match day.
Though not adolescent by any means, the centre back pairings of Skrtel-Toure, Skrtel-Agger and Skrtel-Sakho haven’t exactly been sharp as a tack when faced with any threat to their goal, with only two teams in the top half of the table conceding more goals than the second placed Merseyside club. Having Rooney on clinical form ahead of the game he cherishes most on the calendar, alongside Robin van Persie who has something to prove following a week of conjecture regarding the Dutch front man; the vulnerable Liverpool defence could be put to the test once more this weekend.
With goals always a feature of the most iconic game in the history of English football, they should be at a premium come Sunday in the game which clichés were made for. A must-win for United, it’s win or bust, make or break time, at the end of the day.
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