Why United drawing Bayern could be positive
By Owen McMahon
Whilst most people would argue that drawing reigning European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals was the worst-case scenario for out-of-form Manchester United, I believe there are several justifiable reasons why this can be seen in a more positive light.
Manchester United have not been their regular, daunting, dominating selves this season under new manager David Moyes, who joined the club at the end of the 2012/13 season, upon Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement from the game. Having only managed to secure 51 points out of 30 games, a record low following Sir Alex's successful 25 year tenure at the club, things have been very different in what is called Manchester United's 'transitional period'.
For this reason, I believe that the media, the public, and even Manchester United fans themselves have decided that it is acceptable to automatically rule the Red Devils out of the tie, with only one outcome being possible; a Bayern Munich win. However, I believe this plays into United's favour. The pressure is all in the Germans' court, with their expected victory, it's their game to lose.
Whilst Manchester United have nothing to lose. Having already been eliminated from the FA Cup, Capital One Cup and the Premier League title race, the Champions League is all they have to play for, and is their only realistic shot at securing a place in next year's UCL competition, as they are expected to miss out on a top four spot in this season's Premier League.
No one will be expecting a Manchester United victory, in fact, they will probably be expecting a Munich onslaught. This is David Moyes' chance to really finish the season on a high, and show the footballing world that he is capable of managing the biggest club in England, whilst retaining the long period of success the club has revelled in over the years. Through all the criticism coming from this season, I'm sure that the Champions League is now the Scotsman's number one priority for the rest of this season.
Although I don't believe his position as United manager is in jeprody, there is no doubts that this thought has been running circles in his mind for the past few weeks. With all the media speculation, the mounting pressure on the team to succeed, it's inevitable that this will be unsettling David Moyes immensely. However, as Sir Alex said, David is a tough manager. If he can mentally progress from what has been a diabolical first season in charge with Manchester United and focus entirely on the UEFA Champions League competion, I believe that against all odds, the impossible could become possible.
If progression to the semi-finals became real instead of hopes & dreams, the benefits are endless for David Moyes and his Manchester United side. Not only would they then be in with an actual shot of winning the trophy with only 2 rounds to endure, but it would help bring the fear factor that has so evidently disappeared from Old Trafford this season. Beating the European & German treble champions would be a massive boost in pride and perception. It may not restore the whole season's damages, but it would definitely make people think that Moyes has finally found his feet at United, with the team prepared to fight back to the top of the table for next season.
As the first leg is a home-tie at the Theatre of Dreams on the 1st April, It will definitely be Moyes' aim to not concede, whilst hopefully bagging a goal or two. In an ideal world, a 2-0 home victory would give his side a healthy cushion going into the second leg at the Allianz Arena on the 8th April, and with a bit of luck & a strong defencive performance, I firmly believe that Manchester United can beat the odds and progress to the semi-finals of the European competition.