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Man Utd’s Champions League dream unaffected by domestic woe

| 20.03.2014

Manchester United’s problems in the Premier League this season have been well documented but domestic struggles count for nothing in the Champions League if recent history is anything to go by.

David Moyes’ side eased the pressure on their under fire boss by coming back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford to book a place in the quarter-finals.

In the league it has not been such a success story for Moyes and co, who find themselves 18 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea and 12 points behind city rivals Manchester City in fourth place.

United are 2000/1 to cause an upset and win the title and they are out at 28/1 to make the top four but their best chance of getting back into Europe’s premier club competition could be going all the way to Lisbon and winning it.

Wednesday night’s success in Europe has kept alive Moyes’ dream of a trophy in his first season at the helm but they will have to do it the hard way with Ladbrokes placing last season’s Premier League champions as rank outsiders for European glory at 18/1.

But as both Liverpool and Chelsea have proved in the last 10 years outsiders can sometimes go all the way.

In 2005, despite being 37 points adrift at the top of the Premier League, Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool shocked the likes of Juventus and Chelsea as they defied logic to win the Champions League for a fifth time.

The Merseyside club produced one of the greatest comebacks in the history of European football as they fought back from 3-0 down in the final against AC Milan to win on penalties, proving miracles can happen.

More recently it was Chelsea’s turn to defy domestic league form to go on and lift their first European Cup.

The west Londoners struggled to a sixth place finish in the league, some 25 points off the top spot, but in the end it was not to matter as the Blues sealed qualification to the 2012-13 competition in a different fashion.

The Pensioners, under Roberto Di Matteo following Andres Villa-Boas’ dismissal earlier in the season, turned around a 3-1 first-leg deficit to beat Napoli, before victories over Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern Munich sent them all the way to glory.

Could the Olympiakos victory be Moyes and United’s Napoli moment and save their season and land the big one? Stranger things have happened.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew