Manchester United Is Good Enough For Europa Cup Final, But They Must First Survive Stadio Olimpico.
No team remaining in the Europa 2021 competition is as accomplished as Manchester United. They have the pedigree, the exposure, and the players to accomplish what they are set out to achieve.
Do you think AS Roma can invoke the spirit of the Roman Gladiators against Manchester United and fight to the death in the second leg in Rome?
Of course, AS Roma is a big team in their own right, they may win the battle in Stadio Olimpico, Rome, but will lose the war. They will not advance to the next round. They have met their bus stop, their journey in the Europa Cup competition is over.
Don’t take my words for it, you better go back to history and look at the results of UEFA games the Rome-based team has played in the recent past before you conclude that Manchester United has qualified. One thing is for sure, AS Roma will fight till the last minutes. That game is not over yet until the referee blows his final whistle.
Let Manchester United fans not delude themselves, there is still all to play for in the return leg in Rome. AS Roma is one team that has no complexities, they believe in their style and what they can offer. In the 2017/2018 Champions league second-round games, after FC Barcelona had won 4 – 1 against AS Roma in Nou Camp, Catalonia, Spain. The thinking was that FC Barcelona had qualified, but during the return leg in Rome, AS Roma trounced FC Barcelona 3 – 0 and qualified for the next stage on an away goal.
If the lessons of that game against Barcelona are not enough warning, it’s important we remember that in the same 2018 Champions League semi-final, Liverpool had beaten AS Roma 5 – 2 in Anfield only for AS Roma to defeat Liverpool 4 – 2 in return leg in Italy.
Though that result against Liverpool wasn’t enough to qualify them for the final against Real Madrid of Spain, it clearly showed their intents.
AS Roma still has what it takes to inflict pain on Manchester United and their fans. In Paulo Fonseca, they have a manager who plays positive and attacking football. Eden Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy, though getting old, are still absolutely fantastic. No wonder, some will tell you that old wine tastes better. How about Hennkh Mkhitaryan directing affairs from the midfield and opening Manchester United defense at will. Definitely, this battle is a reenactment of the battle of the Roman Gladiators of old. Only the bravest and the best survives!
You see, a 6 – 2 victory by Manchester United against Roma may look good and insurmountable, but we need to look at that game more critically and analyze it better, only then can we really draw an inference about Manchester United’s performance on the night.
The first question we must ask is this:
Did Manchester United outplay AS Roma?
My sincere answer is, No!
Did AS Roma adopt the wrong tactics or play negative defensive football on the night?
My answer again is a resounding, NO!
So, why did Manchester United come back from the dead and won in the second round?
Honestly, I can’t attribute it to anything special they did or didn’t do, but football can actually be funny at times, maybe playing in Old Trafford was enough motivation for the players. Another reason is that to those players, winning is everything. It’s clear they can’t win any other trophy this year, maybe a Europa Cup title might just be enough compensation.
I loved the response of the United players on the night, they fought for every ball, there was no dull moment, they played as if their lives depended on it. It was heart-warming that they won at the end of the day. This doesn’t take anything from the AS Roma team, they will re-strategy and wait for the return leg in Roma.
I’m looking forward to the battle in Rome.
May the better team advance to the next stage.
Have a great day and stay safe