Manchester United fans around the world had to cope with a season without Champions League football under the Old Trafford floodlights last term, but Louis van Gaal has taken over the reigns and guided his spirited side to a return to Europe’s premier competition this time around.
The influential Dutchman has had a fantastic impact on the current crop of players, and it seems as though he knows just exactly what he wants out of each and every one of them. When you add his expertise to some of the names we’ve been linked with, we could well turn out to be the surprise package in this season’s Champions League.
Manchester United haven’t got their hands on the big trophy since 2008, and likewise Louis van Gaal hasn’t won it since he lifted it with his famous Ajax side in 1994-95.
The Old Trafford go into the tournament as ranked outsiders at 16/1, and you can learn more about that here. Obviously the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will be heavily fancied, but with United keen to impress the home faithful who have been without those atmospheric Champions League nights for over a season now, they could well be the underdogs who could go quite far in the competition.
Before the main competition is the qualifying round, and in the mix are some tough sides including the likes of AS Moncao, Lazio, CSKA Moscow and Sporting Lisbon. Louis van Gaal and his side should have enough to get past these teams with relative ease, but due to their absence last year, United will enter the main draw in pot two – which is somewhat classed as uncharted territory for the club.
That means that The Theatre of Dreams is going to get one of those special nights under the Old Trafford floodlights a lot earlier than usual, with the chances of drawing a side capable of winning the competition in our group alongside us.
If Louis van Gaal can somehow manage to win that group, its anyones game when it gets to the knockout stages. A two-legged tie with the masterful Louis van Gaal at the helm will make it tough for any opponent, and honestly I can see United progressing deep into the tournament whoever they draw.
Its all about the away goal in Europe, and United have always performed well against the bigger sides in the league this season and posed a threat away from home. That was typified by a stunning 3-1 win away at Anfield.
At the end of the day, as a match going fan its a great feeling knowing that we’ll have European football to look forward to again in a few months time. United deserve to be in that competition season-in season-out, and whatever happens, as long as we progress out of the group stages it’ll just be great to see our boys deservedly competing at the highest level once again.
How far can Manchester United go in the Champions League? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.