Will Manchester United continue winning in the Champions League?

Manchester United have made easy work of their Champions League group but will they keep winning in the knockout stages?

Despite a mixed start to their Premier League campaign, Manchester United have wasted no time in qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game to spare.

Two draws and three wins have been enough to top Group A after five games, with a final match against second-placed Shakhtar Donetsk to be played at Old Trafford.

Fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner of United's 0-0 stalemate with Real Sociedad earlier in the campaign - but an impressive 5-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen has laid any European doubts to rest.

One wonders, in fact, just how David Moyes has done so well in his first ever attempt in the Champions League. The Scot has been slow to adapt to managing a club that is challenging for the Premier League title yet has encountered no signs of trouble in the toughest competition in club football.

Will Moyes' honeymoon period last beyond the group stages, however, or will he fall at the first hurdle when the going gets tough?

A look through Manchester United's results so far this season prompts an intriguing revelation. As obvious as it seems, it is important to note that United's points have mainly come against smaller sides.

Domestically, visits to Manchester City and Liverpool have ended in defeat, while they have most recently dropped points on their travels at Cardiff and struggling Tottenham.

In Europe, United could hardly have been said to have faced any big fish, either.

Leverkusen may currently sit second in the Bundesliga but, rest assured, they would not trouble any of the bigger sides in the Champions League. Not only are they third in Group A, they were simply awful in the 5-0 loss to Moyes' side, defending just as badly during the 4-2 defeat at Old Trafford.

The evidence would suggest, then, that the odds will be against United in the knockout stages of the competition. Topping their group may hand them a favourable draw in the last 16 but the going will not be easy thereafter.

Of course, Moyes could prove us all wrong in Europe this season - but it would perhaps be wise to take his side's good group form with a pinch of salt.

image: © Nasmac

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