Chris Ruple


With the recent results from Manchester United, it appears there won't be a repeat as Premier League champions or even another shot at a Champions League crown.

Sir Alex Ferguson surprised the world last week by starting striker Wayne Rooney in the Champions League second leg vs. Bayern Munich. Ferguson had made the statement earlier in the week that Rooney would not play and probably wouldn't even dress for the game.

When asked about the surprise addition to the lineup, Ferguson said the injury "wasn't as bad as they had expected and his training went well during the week."

Fresh off their recent defeat in what could have been somewhat of a title match to Chelsea, the Red Devils were looking for a spark in Champions League play vs. Bayern Munich. They struck first as Darron Gibson netted a goal in the 3' to give Man United an early advantage.

Nani would then add to the tally in the 7 and 41st minutes to give United a commanding 3-0 lead. Ivica Olic put Bayern Munich on the board just before half to give the German squad some hope.

The sending off of Rafael early in the second half didn't help United's cause and a 74' goal from Arjen Robben proved to be costly. The game ended 3-2 to United ;however, Bayern would go through on aggregate 4-4 due to their two away goals compared to United's one.

As if the losses to Bayern and Chelsea weren't enough, the Red Devils failed to get a result over the weekend at Blackburn, drawing 0-0.

The Wayne Rooney-less squad held a 16-9 shot advantage but was unable to score in a crucial Premier League bout.

All hope appears to be lost in Manchester and coach Sir Alex Ferguson is the first to admit it. He claims the title is Chelsea's to lose as they hold a one point lead over United and have played one less game.

"I think it is going to be very difficult to win this league," Ferguson told an ESPN Soccernet reporter.  "We have only a lifeline if Chelsea blows it, it's a big gap.

To make matters worse, John O'Shea, Rio Ferdinand, and Ryan Giggs will all join Wayne Rooney on the injury list for United's upcoming match vs. Manchester City, a match Manchester City needs to win to stay in position to qualify for next season's Champions League.