Man Utd: four reasons to be cheerful after League Cup exit
Every cloud has a silver lining and United have at least avoided a Wembley clash with City
MANCHESTER UNITED'S appalling League Cup exit to Sunderland may have a silver lining: David Moyes team have at least avoided a showdown with local rivals Man City at Wembley next month, something that could have been even more painful that their performance against the Black Cats.
But that is not the only positive United can take from an evening that could go down as one of the most miserable at Old Trafford for years. Here are the reasons for United to be cheerful:
Dodging a showdown with City:
With City crushing everything in their path, the prospect of a Wembley rout was playing heavy on the minds of some United fans even before the semi-final on Wednesday. Several took to Twitter before the match to express their reservations. They need not have worried, as the side capitulated in astonishing fashion during an excruciating penalty shootout in which only one player, Darren Fletcher, found the net.
"On this evidence David Moyes' side have avoided what could have been a humbling afternoon in the Capital One Cup final in March," remarks the Manchester Evening News.
A chance to regroup:
The embarrassing defeat also means that they now have a relatively easy run of games and a couple of ten-day breaks to look forward to, something that gives Moyes the chance to regroup and get his demoralised troops back on their feet. With no FA Cup game this weekend United do not play again until Tuesday next week.
Between now and the end of February they have five league games, and four are against teams currently in the bottom seven. However, they must also face Arsenal at the Emirates, although given their current form there will be little expectation of a result in that match.
After the Arsenal game United have a period of 24 days in which they are only scheduled to play twice. Between 12 February and 8 March their only games are away at Crystal Palace and Olympiakos. They had been due to face City in the league on the weekend of the Capital One Cup final. So they have, in effect, twice dodged a bullet.
Their pre-season is safe:
Man Utd's commercial department will also be relieved about their exit as it means that the club's pre-season tour of the US, where they will unveil new shirt sponsor Chevrolet, is no longer in danger.
As the Daily Mirror reported Had United qualified for the Europa League through the Capital One Cup, they would have been obliged to cut short their money-spinning trip to America to play in the early rounds of the competition.
Juan Mata is coming:
His arrival has nothing to do with United's cup exit, but at least the Chelsea man knows how to take a penalty. He scored regularly from the spot for Chelsea, although did miss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final of 2012.
Whatever his prowess from 12 yards, the Spaniard's arrival for a record fee of £37m should at least lift spirits at Old Trafford. "Panic buy, PR move, great transfer market grab, season-saver: the Mata raid is all things to all men, but nobody could dispute that it will improve a mediocre (by their standards) United midfield," says the Daily Telegraph.