By: Sam P – The Peoples Person – www.thepeoplesperson.com
Manchester United went into the game last night with the odds firmly stacked against them.
Down 2-0 in the tie and down on form thanks to the humiliation at the hands of Liverpool at the weekend, could United turn it around?
If there was anywhere it could happen, Old Trafford was the place.
Here are the main talking points.
After the loss to Liverpool at the weekend, United fans were filled with nervous trepidation and excitement for the Olympiacos game, understandably so but the players delivered.
The passion was there, the desire was back. Players fought for the ball, chased down lost causes and took the game by the scruff of the neck. That’s the United we all love.
The only frustrating part of the performance was that we haven’t seen more of it – why did United have to wait until tonight to play like that?
Before kick-off, I was frustrated to see Van Persie in the starting line-up with Welbeck out of position. He certainly made me eat my words.
That hat-trick was his first in the Champions League and United’s first in the knock-out stage of the competition – what a time to get it.
When the chips are down, you need your biggest players to step up to the plate and despite his form this season, Van Persie did precisely that.
Van Persie may have made the all important difference in front of goal against Olympiacos but every single United player came away with credit last night.
Antonio Valencia played with one eye for the whole game after a nasty collision and actually put in one of his best performances this season. Ryan Giggs was superb in the first half, Danny Welbeck made so much space for his team-mates with countless runs, Wayne Rooney was the heartbeat of the side while the likes of Rafael, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones all deserve their credit too.
After the defeat to Liverpool, Moyes was under severe pressure to get United through to the Champions League quarter final and they duly performed.
The Glazers were in attendance last night and if United had got knocked out by a distinctly average Olympiacos side, the pressure on Moyes’ position as manager would have reached boiling point.
Victory last night has granted him more time but it doesn’t change how the season has gone as a whole.
The turning point of the game was David de Gea‘s double save because if that had gone in, United would have needed to score three.
Can De Gea be given the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year trophy after the game? There’s no point waiting until the end of the season.