Champions League Roundup: Where Do Manchester United and Newcastle United Go From Here?

Published on 14 December 2023 at 20:00

After both clubs endured a disappointing exit from the Champions League (and European Football as a whole for this season), both Manchester United and Newcastle United find themselves in a precarious uncertain situation both on and off the pitch. Just how will the rest of their season fare from here after crashing out of Europe's premier competition. 


Manchester United are in truly torrid form, barely mustering any efforts against a Bayern Munich side which didn't have to exit first gear at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. Newcastle meanwhile looked on top of the world until the 60th minute of their crunch fixture at St James's Park, pursuing a winner that backfired and ultimately condemned them to fourth place in one of the toughest 'Groups of Death' in the competition's recent history. 


Both teams' defeats will have dealt so far untold damage to the Premier League's aspirations of securing the slot for a 5th team in next year's revamped Group Stage, considering how well Italy and Germany's clubs have fared across all three tiers of European competition this season. The Premier League's hopes may very well rest with Manchester City and Arsenal to progress deep into the competition like many have predicted. 


Neither side can really contest with being in the top four in England right now either, and it will take a serious upswing in form for either Eddie Howe or Erik ten Hag's team to bounce back into the European conversation. 


No European football for the rest of the 2023/24 season will no doubt have a mammoth impact on both club's spending in January: without the appeal and lustre of continental football, Newcastle in particular will be constrained by financial fair play regulations that the likes of CEO Darren Eales have highlighted. The Magpies alone are believed to have missed out on £10-20m from not progressing to the knockout stage. 


However, both sides will likely welcome a less-congested fixture list for the rest of their season, especially considering the spate of injuries that have arisen in the last month alone in the North East and the North West. Sven Botman and Harvey Barnes' impending returns will restore much confidence in the Magpies heading into a crucial run of fixtures in December and a very difficult January.


There were promising signs in both teams' performances that can instil them with confidence heading into 2024 and beyond: as porous as the Manchester United defence was, they remain one of the highest scoring teams in the competition, and fans will hope they can rebuild their defence to a more solid state in time for their next European foray however soon that may come. 


Newcastle meanwhile held their own with three of Europe's elite teams, and would likely be through to at least the Europa League if not for the contentious penalty awarded to Kylian Mbappe and PSG in the dying minutes in Paris. 


So whilst we're unlikely to see both Manchester United and Newcastle United walk out to the iconic UCL anthem this time next season, both teams can utilise the experience as a reality check on their standing in the continental game right now, and look to build on their domestic form now that at least two fixtures have been alleviated from their busy early 2024 schedules 

By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)


Image Credit-Christianvinter on Wikipedia

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