4 Things We Learned from the Manchester Clubs in the Champions League
1. Manchester City will benefit from this experience
Regardless of the wealth spent on this team, this is City’s first outing in the Champions League. Only a handful of players in the squad have participated before in Europe’s elite competition. This season’s failure to make it past the group stage is all but a learning experience for the blue side of Manchester.
David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Joe Hart, Yaya Touré, Vincent Kompany and Mario Balotelli just to name a few will learn from this experience in which they have to hit the Group Stage hard and full of running. The slight mistake can result in the dropped points, unlike the Premier League with inferior opposition; the standard is obviously higher in Europe and you will be punished. They will all gain valuable lesson after this failed adventure.
2. United are a club in transition
Hard to say it, after United’s ‘raging bull’ start to the season, but last season’s Premier League Champions have shown over the course of the last two months that they are team going through the motions of transition. Alex Ferguson has thrown youth into the squad with little or no European experience and this in the long term has cost them. Injuries have played their part no doubt, that’s just football and Ferguson knows what happens during the long course of the season.
The center of midfield is where United need someone with extra bite and the back four needs consistency. Ferguson will need time to marshal the troops to form a formidable unit, but a United team in transition is still a dangerous prospect and shouldn’t be underestimated.
3. David Silva is what makes City click
There is no questioning Silva worth to City. He’s been the stand out player this season: setting up goals, providing that devastating link from the midfield to the front line and even getting the ball in the back of the net himself. However, it seems that there is a question of how valuable Silva really is for City. When he’s played, City has been unstoppable. He scored a sublime goal against Bayern and was instrumental in all their build up play. Obviously, it hasn’t been the first time he’s done this season. Mancini might have bought Samir Nasri to help cover for the Spaniard, but if they want to go all the way to the title, Silva has to be their man.
4. Manchester United need a world class central midfielder
If United had signed Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan, like the tabloids had been reporting for over a year, you would have put your money on United making it through a relatively easy Group C. But he didn’t. This is where United have lost their bite and bark and it’s been quite clear to see that they aren’t the same as they were last season. Yes, Paul Scholes played less and less, but his experience, his leadership would of helped United in a situation like this. The young players would have learned from the man who’s been United’s pin in the center for over a decade.
The fact that Ferguson has to rely on 36 year old Ryan Giggs and youngster Tom Cleverly shows United are lacking personnel. Anderson doesn’t offer anything in terms of spark or creativity; Darren Fletcher is more suited to doing the grunt work; Phil Jones isn’t a central midfielder by nature and Michael Carrick has been off form for a while now. Signing a world class midfielder in January might be difficult, but its clear Ferguson will need to strengthen for next season.