Nothing has gone right for Manchester United this season—nothing at all.
The defending Premier League champions find themselves in seventh place in the league this season, 18 points behind leaders Chelsea and 12 points behind Manchester City for fourth place with just nine games remaining. In other words, United won't be returning to the Champions League next season.
Heck, they may not even escape the round of 16. Olympiakos won the first leg of this fixture, 2-0, and are essentially an away goal away from advancing (in that scenario, United would have to score four goals without conceding again to move on to the quarterfinals).
The odds are stacked against them for sure. Can they, for once this season, play like the fearsome United of the past? Or will Olympiakos be crashing the Champions League quarterfinals.
When: Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. GMT)
Where: Old Trafford
Watch: Fox Sports 1; Fox Soccer 2Go; Sky Sports 1 (U.K.); Sky Go (U.K.)
In years past, even a two-goal disadvantage on aggregate would have been manageable at Old Trafford. But the current iteration has already lost six times at its home stadium in all competitions, a pretty surprising mark.
It gets worse. To advance, United either need a 2-0 result to force extra time or a three-goal advantage to win outright. They've won by a 2-0 margin at home four times this year. They've won by three goals or more at home just once.
Sir Alex Ferguson isn't walking through that door—well, at least not as the club's manager.
But David Moyes might be forced to walk out of the door, according to Miguel Delaney of ESPN:
Key Manchester United boardroom figures have turned against David Moyes as the prospect of the manager getting sacked has been properly raised for the first time.
Club sources have told ESPN that although the owners, the Glazer family, remain behind their manager, they are now open to the idea of making a change and the next three games could prove decisive.
They are said to have become very 'nervous' about the nature of recent performances, never mind results, with a nadir coming in the 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool. Some United officials now openly maintain that a managerial change is needed.
Old Trafford sources say it has also been noted that Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer backing Moyes so vocally at boardroom level, although the former manager is not said to have turned against his replacement. It is believed Moyes retains the backing of Bobby Charlton.
No pressure or anything, Moyes. It's just your job potentially on the line.
Yesterday was one of the worst days I've had in football and was hard to take. Having said that the fans were brilliant right until the end under difficult circumstances so I would like to thank them for that. We need to move on as we have a big game on Wednesday, if the fans can repeat an atmosphere like Sunday then we will have a good chance of going through. Thanks again for all your support.
There is no reason United shouldn't advance against a team like Olympiakos. This is a club that may be the toast of Greece but one that also lost 3-0 away against Anderlecht in the Champions League group stage and lost both fixtures to Paris-Saint Germain by a combined score of 6-2.
Olympiakos don't have anyone of the quality of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney or Juan Mata, though lord knows those three still haven't quite figured out how to coexist on the pitch. They certainly don't have United's budget or European prestige. Their inclusion in the quarterfinals would be pretty shocking, when you consider they'd be joining the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and PSG, among others.
Can they pull off the shocker?
They most certainly can, and they probably will. United just seem too disoriented at this point to beat a team by three goals with all of Europe eagerly watching (and many in England cheering on their downfall).
United have a striker in van Persie who isn't on form and two players in Mata and Rooney who need to operate in the space behind the striker to be most effective. They lack a creative, cutting edge in the midfield. The defense was exposed against Liverpool. And one mistake in this game, one poor touch or unlucky bounce, could lead to a goal that will all but end this fixture.
United will win this game. They must win this game. But they won't win it by enough. United win, 1-0, but Olympiakos move on to the quarterfinals.
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