So, Arsenal go down 2-0 to Bayern, Man City go down 2-0 to Barcelona, and Man Utd go down by the same scoreline to . . . Olympiakos?! Even as a Leeds fan, I have to say that it’s getting almost painful to watch Man Utd stumble from disaster to disaster under their new manager. Considering that their whole season was effectively riding on this tie, it almost beggared belief to see them turn in such a listless display. Rooney huffed and puffed and struggled to make any impression on the game, while Robin Van Persie was similarly ineffectual (and has taken the strange and probably imprudent step of complaining about his own teammates getting in the way). Ferdinand and Vidić – not so long ago arguably the most formidable defensive partnership in club football worldwide – were out of sorts too (notwithstanding some important interventions from the Serb), the former a fading force, and the latter looking about as bewildered as his manager as his team slumped to the embarrassing defeat (and as for Chris Smalling – I hope for England’s sake that Roy Hodgson will think very hard before taking him to Brazil!). As for the likes of Young, Valencia and Cleverley, it seems difficult to believe these days that they could ever have been mainstays in a league title winning team – and to say that it didn’t exactly inspire confidence when Kagawa was brought on as a substitute with Utd chasing the game, is a major understatement. It’s all a far cry from the halcyon days of Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Beckham, and it feels like very strange, disorienting times in the footballosphere. I have a feeling that it will not be the looming figure of Sir Alex that haunts Manchester United fans at this time; rather it will be the spectre of another formidable Scot – one Graeme Souness. Time will tell on that one but, for now, let’s give credit where credit’s due to Olympiakos on a deserved victory – and a corking second goal from Joel Campbell. Heaven knows that the people of Greece could do with some cheer, and I hope they can close it out and finish the job in the second leg.
Tonight I’ll be off to watch Chelsea take on Galatasaray in Turkey. Surely it won’t be four defeats out of four for the English clubs?