City will win this year’s Premier League, by as many points as they choose to. They’re thirteen points clear and it would come as no surprise if they dropped fewer points than that over the remaining 12 games. All that’s left now for United is to take the one thing that City value more than anything– the Champions’ League trophy. There are reasons to suspect that it’s well within reach.
Knockout Football: Mourinho’s Bread And Butter
While Jose has won plenty of league titles across his career, there are signs that — this season at least — the enduring consistency required to win the league just isn’t there. Tottenham and Arsenal have been beaten in recent weeks to the surprise of fans, pundits, and Stratabet among others. However, points have been dropped at Stoke (who are playing as though gravity is pulling them towards relegation) and Huddersfield.
Knockout football is a different animal, and Mourinho is a past master at doing enough to get through a two-legged tie. Porto were not Europe’s best team in 2004, nor were Inter in 2010, but both teams kept doing enough. It might not make for thrilling viewing, but will any United fan care about that if Mourinho repeats the dose in 2018?
The Last 16 Draw Has Been Kind
Having topped the group, United’s next opponents were always going to be a team that had finished second in theirs. This season, that included Real Madrid, Juventus, and Bayern Munich, but the hand of fate picked out Sevilla instead. Sevilla aren’t a bad team, but over two legs United can feel confident of getting through.
Also, given that Madrid face PSG, Spurs face Juventus, and Chelsea will be up against Barcelona, three potential winners won’t even make the quarter-finals. With some of the other ties in the round of sixteen offering up relatively thin gruel (Shakhtar-Roma, anyone?), a team with luck on their side may sleepwalk into the semis. So let’s hope luck holds out.
Lukaku Will Regain Form
One message that came out of the derby was that United badly missed Paul Pogba, the one player in the squad really capable of driving a midfield forward against any opposition. With his recent return to the side post-injury, Pogba seems to have sparked signs of recovery in the struggling Romelu Lukaku.
Add Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the mix, with his ability to take some of the pressure off the Belgian, and United have a frontman who, when on form, can and will go on a scoring streak. It won’t come in time to reel in City — let’s forget about that — but it may be more than enough in Europe.
City have won the league more times than we’d ever have wanted in recent years. That’s a shame– but wouldn’t it be hilarious to pick up the trophy they value above all others?