FanPost

Soccer Coffee: United's Lost Season, PSG over Barca, Mourinho, Martinez

- If I'm Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, I'm extremely disappointed. Fergie's 2012-2013 Red Devils were among his best ever - in Rooney, Chicarito, Van Persie and Welbeck, United have the best strike-force in the world, the midfield is their best since the days of Ronaldo, and the defense has become much sturdier since its shaky start to the season. David De Gea has emerged as a force in goal, United haven't battled many injury problems, and the team is cruising in the Premier League - a title they've had wrapped up since late February. Think about that - Manchester United had the best, most competitive league in the world all but sealed with three months to go in the season. The dressing room is tight, the chemistry is good, and yet this historically good United team will only win one trophy.
I think United missed their best chance at a multi-trophy season since 2008. While Ferguson got unlucky in the Champions League against Real Madrid - the second leg is sure to be an extreme sore spot for years to come - United unfortunately bombed out of both the League and FA Cups at the hands of dysfunctional Chelsea. In both the 5-4 4th Round defeat in the Capital One Cup, and the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last Monday, Ferguson was punished for not selecting his best team, and making bizarre tactical blunders. The result is, this United team will not go down as one of the best ever, and in reailty, Man. United have nothing to play for the rest of the season.
Some years teams can be great. Historic. Unforgettable. Ferguson has had his brushes with famous seasons, his 1999 treble may be the most famous season of all seasons. United had the depth and talent to be great this year. They matched Jose Mourinho's Real eye-for-eye in the Champions League, and ran away in the Premier League. They should have lusted after a second trophy, the FA Cup, to firmly place their team in the anneals of history. United didn't realize how big the moment was in both their visits to Stamford Bridge this year that knocked them out of the English Cups. They didn't want the icing for their cake enough. The great teams always do. So you have to ask yourself, despite all the other circumstances, is 2012-2013 Manchester United a great team?
- PSG can take Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash. If Messi doesn't play, Barca lose their dynamite and have to restructure their usual game-plan, and if they're without Javier Masherano, they will be out of first-team center-backs to partner with Gerrard Pique. Carlo Ancelotti's team believes: They fought Barcelona tooth and nail in the first leg, and will think they can play even better in the rematch. Confidence is everything against Barcelona, confidence and grit. Chelsea did it last year in Spain, PSG can do it this year. Barcelona isn't quite the beast it used to be - they miss Carlos Puyol most of all, the once-flying pirate of a defender provided the back-line leadership, power and skill. With Puyol continually hurt and out of rhythm and form, Barcelona have become a bit soft at the back. Also, Ancelotti will out-coach Tito Villanova. Ancelotti is world class, Villanova is just returning from his harrowing cancer treatment, and while he's a fine tactician, he isn't a master of the game as Ancelotti is. PSG want to put themselves on the map, Barcelona are fighting to stay there. Should be a fun second leg.
- Jose Mourinho is the best manager in the world in any sport. No one combines the nous, power, influence, shtick, gravitas or likeability as well as Mourinho does. Every top team in Europe besides Barcelona, Man. United, Dortmund, Bayern, and possibly PSG should try to sign him this summer. Even with all the fireworks going on at Real Madrid in the background and often in the foreground, and the common knowledge inside the club that Mourinho is a dead-man walking, Real have to be favorites to win the Champions League. This is a man you do not bet against. Mourinho wants to be back at Chelsea, and a deal looks close, but in the meantime, Mourinho has a chance to go down in history as the first man to win the European Cup with three different teams. Tell me you wouldn't want the Special One in your dugout.
- I have a real problem with Pablo Di Caino being hired as the new manager of Sunderland. Not only is Di Caino a proudly announced fascist, he is a loud fascist, and he has used his fascism along with his playing career to vault himself into a job his resume alone would never have gotten him by itself. Di Caino is a huge distraction, a huge embarrassment and the days of Martin O'Neill's spunk and charm will surely be missed. Sunderland will struggle mightily to stay up.
- Give Roberto Martinez a big job already. He has been the best manager in the Premier League over the last four years, and I doubt there is anyone who would bet against him keeping Wigan up again this season. Martinez is affable, a fantastic mind and motivator, and he should be one of the hottest managerial properties in football.

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