Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Do or die.... European permutations with our fate in our own hands

Win in Wolfsburg and we don't need to worry: victory would take us through and we can rest easy but, with a tense and nervy night in store in Germany, what else do we need to bear in mind.

Fixtures: PSV v CSKA Moscow, Wolfsburg v United

No one has definitely guaranteed their place in the knockout stage from our group- only CSKA Moscow who sit fourth are out of contention with the two qualification places still up for grabs.

But three into two just will not go...

We know that a win in Wolfsburg would take us through as group winners, with a draw only good enough if PSV fail to beat the already-eliminated Russians in Eindhoven.

If we draw and PSV win, then they would go through along with our hosts tonight- condemning us to third place and the ignominy of Europa League football in 2016 (shudder!)*
*Worst case scenario 

Wolfsburg will top the group if they beat United, but will also qualify with a draw regardless of the other result- the German side currently top the group but would go out if both United and PSV won- taking us both through and putting the Bundesliga outfit into the Europa League.

However, even defeat would not necessarily spell the end for United.

Should Wolfsburg win, we would then need CSKA to beat PSV in the other game, as a draw in that game would see the Dutch side take second spot behind Wolfsburg by virtue of their head-to-head record. 

PSV will be motivated by the knowledge that if they do win, then they are definitely through with a draw enough for them to finish second if we lose.

That scenario would see us and them level on points, but because the criteria is decided on head-to-head records and not goal difference, they would go through by virtue of that superior statistic.

In summary: 

-Wolfsburg will be through with a draw and will clinch top spot with a win over United
- We will go through as group winners with victory regardless of the other game.

-If we lose then we could still go through but only if CSKA win in Eindhoven 
- PSV are through with a win, or a draw if United lose thanks to their superior head-to-head record over us.
- If PSV win and our game is drawn, PSV and Wolfsburg will be split for first place on overall goal difference as their head-to-head record is equal.
- CSKA cannot go through but will finish ahead of PSV in third spot on head-to-head with victory in the Netherlands. 







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