Most of the English representatives in the Champions and Europa Leagues are fairly confident of making it through to the knock-out stages. But there are two notable exceptions. Manchester United are already in the Europa League and away form is threatening their qualification hopes. Meanwhile, home form is threatening to dump Spurs into the Europa League. Can Mourinho and Pochettino somehow avert disaster and ensure qualification?
Not Home Sweet Home
Winning your home games is so important but for Spurs that’s definitely not the case in their Champions League group. Rather than hosting their group opponents at White Hart Lane, they’re playing at Wembley and so far it’s proving to be a right old disaster. Two home games against Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen have both ended in home defeats. Few sides can afford to do that and survive in European competition though their boss denies playing there is a factor. Do Spurs really want to end up in the Europa League because that’s how it’s looking at the present time…
Two away games have produced four points but with just two games to go, Spurs find themselves in the Thursday night position aka third and being chucked into the Europa League. They trail second-placed Leverkusen by two points and group leaders Monaco by four. Their next game really is the crunch one with a trip to Monaco on 22 November. A loss there would all but end their hopes of qualification and make their final ‘home’ game a Europa League qualification shoot-out against CSKA Moscow who could well still be in the hunt for a top-two place if they can beat Leverkusen at home on the 22nd.
It’s not just playing on a ground that is bound to get their opponents even more up for the challenge. Spurs have been struggling for a few weeks now both in Europe and the Premier League. Despite an unbeaten run at the start of the season they are losing ground on the league leaders with far too many draws. The goals aren’t flowing with a total reliance on penalties in recent weeks.and they desperately need Harry Kane to get fully fit. It’s looking a bit bleak really having already lost to Monaco once in the group stages. The way it’s going, Thursday night football might be the best they can hope for and might not even get that.
Away-Day Horrors for United
Jose Mourinho doesn’t always have the happiest expression on his face but perhaps he has a reason at present. From recent interviews though we know he’s not having the happiest of times at Old Trafford. Their quest for a return of their Premier League glory days isn’t going great and it’s not going too well in Europe either.
United fans are used to the great occasions when they host the best that Europe has to offer. They aren’t too used to having to go onto the web to try and work out where Zorya Luhansk are, let alone what they are like as a football team. It took United ages to break them down and get a win at Old Trafford and a more comprehensive win over Fenerbache followed. The trouble with United is they have lost both of their away games at Feyenoord and Fenerbache and with just two matches to play they are down in third in the group, a point adrift of Dutch league leaders Feyenoord and leaders Fenerbache.
United take on Feyenoord at home on the 24th, a game they really have to get a win from if they want to progress. Mourinho will change his side around as he seems to continually do these days. With a six-point gap between United and the top four in the Premier League, winning the Europa League might be the only way they get back into the Champions League but at the time of writing United are 4/11 with Betway to defeat Feyenoord. The team need to find consistency or it could be a worrying night for them away to Zorya if their fans work out where it is!