Manchester United have done some pretty good things in recent weeks. They first managed to beat the champions of England after trailing by a goal. The comeback was brought on with Romelu Lukaku’s great performance. The following week, United started terribly against Crystal Palace to go two goals behind. Yet, Jose Mourinho’s team came back once again and Nemanja Matic won the match for them in stoppage time.
And then there was Liverpool. The fiercest rival was coming to town, wanting to finally beat United, for the first time after exactly two years. It was 10 March 2016 when they won 2-0 at Anfield in Europa League match. The Merseyside club would go all the way to finals before losing the match United would win against Ajax twelve months later.
Marcus Rashford won the game with two first-half goals and Eric Bailly’s own goal did not mean too much in the end. After all these fine performances and, more importantly, showings of great character and will, Manchester United are still about to play two of their crucial matches that could define their season.
Sevilla Must Lose
The first of the two will come in Champions League round of 16 second leg, after a 0-0 draw in Seville three weeks ago. Looking at things right after that match ended, things were not so rosy as these days. United were quite poor, unable to create real chances while Sevilla went for it. They had eight shots on target, yet David De Gea was at the end of every single one of them.
That 0-0 draw meant Man United would need to win the return leg at home, something that Mourinho is quite comfortable with. There are no away goals to be afraid or something like that. Just one simple win, nothing more.
However, that one simple win seems like something that has to happen if Manchester United are to look at this season and say it was very positive. Because failing to Sevilla in round of 16 would be a terrible result when you look at objective strength of both sides, at the stature of United and the way the Spanish side has been playing this season.
FA Cup Is Winnable
While the Champions League still looks like something very far away in terms of winning it, FA Cup is not. With Manchester City out of the competition and United playing against Brighton this coming weekend, it could propel Mourinho’s team to the last four.
It would mean another big occasion, another trip to Wembley. Last time they were there (excluding the Premier League match against Tottenham), they did quite well, winning the trophy. This time that will be the goal again. Manchester United will be heavy favourites against Brighton and everything but a win would be a huge disappointment. Beat Brighton and you could smell the final, smell the trophy.
That is why these two clashes mean a lot. Lose them both and this season will be a bad one, win them both and you will still be in for a ride. A ride that had a great ending last season. Why not repeat that?