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Anderson-son-son Is Wrong About “Cup Final” Against Barcelona

Mark Hughes BarcelonaManchester United are set to take on Barcelona in the semi-finals of the European Cup, which has mouth watering prospects for the viewers. Both clubs are advocates of the game, playing football as it should be played, but plenty of emphasis on attacking and skills. Ronaldo, Messi, Rooney, Henry, Tevez, Deco, Scholes and Ronaldinho are players who’d feature in any manager’s fantasy team, and the idea of them fighting out for a place in the final is exciting for any football fan.

Anderson has today spoken out, saying this will be the biggest game of his career so far, and that he will be treating it as though it was the final. However, what he fails to realise is that the game that follows could be the biggest game in United’s entire history.

United have beaten Barcelona before in a European Cup final, when in 1991 two Mark Hughes’ goals saw United win their first European competition in 26 years. The Champions League is certainly more prestigious, and no doubt, we’d take huge pleasure in getting another victory over these Spanish giants.

“For me, it is like playing the final,” Anderson said. “Playing against Barcelona will be the most important match of my life and I think it will be like the final of the Champions League. Barcelona’s squad is excellent. I like Iniesta and he is my favourite player at Barcelona. And then there is Xavi, Deco, Eto’o, Henry. It is a great team.”

There is no denying what a big game this is for United and whilst they are favourites on paper, there are no guarantees in cup football. I, for one, am intrigued to see how this current side fairs against one of the best sides in Europe. Whilst both Lyon (best side in France) and Roma (2nd best side in Italy) were tests for United, our new team passed with flying colours. The new additions of Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson and Tevez were bought for occasions like these, and now it’s time for them to step up to the plate.

After being knocked out by such a strong defensive team last season, it will be interesting to see what problems an attacking minded side would pose us with. United currently have the best defence in the Premiership, although look decidedly shakey in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, who should be back for both games, if all goes to plan.

Barcelona are a massive club in Europe and have also already won two European Cups, however like United, will feel as though there should have been more of this European silverware finding its way to the club. I can recognise what a big occasion this is for United and I am both nervous and excited in anticipation. However, what is likely to follow a victory over Barcelona is the occasion I’m really building myself up for.

With Liverpool and Chelsea being drawn against each other in the other semi-final, there is a large possibility that it will be our old foes that we would meet in the final. The stakes of massive here, they’ve never been bigger. Whilst we’ve all enjoyed these past 18 years of titleless years in Merseyside, and seeing Cantona’s incredible strike hitting the back of the net in 1996 FA Cup final was truly a moment to behold, however few things come close to this.

If United claim the Premiership this season, they will be just one league title away from equalling Liverpool’s record of 18 English titles. The moment we overtake that title will be special. But considering the importance Liverpool put on the European Cup these days, their arm twisted by the Fat Spanish Waiter (TM)’s failure to compete in the league, to beat them in the final of this competition would be incredible. The thought of Gerrard’s crumpled face, Carragher holding his head in his hands, and scousers everywhere grieving, could be enough to bring a tear to my eye.

However, the alternative to this result is complete and utter misery. Painful, sickening, searing misery. The chants revolving around beating us in the final and winning it six times would be enough to make me gag. How could I go on living in this country if Liverpool beat United in the European Cup? How could I ever come in to contact with a scouser ever again? Whilst bragging rights are traded freely now, of European Cups, Trebles and titles, there could be no retaliation to a snipe about us losing to them in the Champions League final.

So whilst I appreciate Anderson’s sentiment, there is only going to be one European Cup final this season, and it isn’t when we play Barcelona.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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8 Comments

  1. Zae says:

    Yep. Beating Chelsea would be much less satisfying but a defeat would much more tolerable, much less painful. And Liverpool’s incredible luck in finals would play into their hands.

    But first let’s get through Barcelona.

  2. Lukenestler says:

    Suicide could well be the only option if the Dippers beat us in the final.

    You’re right to mention equalling their league record though – that’s something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a number of seasons and it’s so nice to see it finally getting so close, especially when in the middle of the nineties most scousers were bleating “we’ll be back, you’ll NEVER take that one from us”…hmm, well !

    If we beat them in the Champs League final we would effectively be immune to any “five times” chants – it would be the greatest night ever in terms of finally shutting them up (so long as the league was in the bag!)

    Barca first though – that one can easily go all worng, this is United remember…

  3. jsos says:

    its such a tough call.. CLEARLY we are the better team over the scouse, but their bizarre champions league record leaves me unsettled. if we get there with them, we just have to trust that our superiority regardless of league or competition will win out. that and let’s trounce em! ;)

  4. Suprah says:

    Great article and such an insane mindf*ck of the prospect of (possibly) facing Liverpool in the final would be one ride that can become either a supersonic thrill at 30,000 ft in a MiG-25 (look it up ^_^) or the most wretched of train wrecks in the history of Manchester United.

    I need to make a slight point, we beat Barcelona in the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup final – and not in the old European Cup which is what we did in ’68 and the now Champions League in ’99.

  5. k9 says:

    Scott,

    I share your views on this one completely. I for one cannot stop dreaming about ending the title race at the bridge and liverpool’s cup ‘record’ at Moscow.
    Oh for that lachrymose sight that’d bring tears to all our eyes.

    Fergie hopefully has a plan for coping with the pace and the quality that Barca will bring to the table. I believe he will play both Hargreaves and Anderson in a bid to snuff out their central midfield which provides all those vital through and long passes.
    And then, counter-attacking has quite been united’s forte this year. It will be quite another thing for Barca’s laggardly defense to deal with Ronny or Wazza.

  6. Tom F says:

    Liverpool always get lucky in the European Cup and a final against them will be the most exciting / scary game in my life so far. It would be bigger than I could explain and the months and years of misery that would follow a defeat is unimaginable. A win would be just as powerful.

    Tears either way.

  7. corea says:

    I an really worried. should we beat scousers in the final it will be our 3rd victory in as many games this season. to great to be true ?
    but lets just concentrate on the game against Barcelona.

  8. Anakin says:

    I am not even one bit worried. i don’t think Fergie (who for one more European Glory alone is still at the Club) will ever let this happen. He’ll kill everyone who does not steps up the game. Every single united player at this moment of time is, probably, thinking about the inevitable. I cannot imagine what it’ll be like. But, sure its gonna be bigger than any of us can or want to imagine.

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