Manchester United v Olympiakos - UEFA Champions League Second Round Second Leg

I’ll put the answer in the lede, as it were: not much.

Last night ahead of Man United’s second leg Champions League tie, in which they needed to overcome a 2-0 deficit against Olympiakos to progress, I openly hoped for a 6-0 scoreline in favour of United. The reason, of course, was to witness the brain-melting dissonance from fans and writers alike, who had collectively bayed for manager David Moyes’ head following Manchester United’s 0-3 loss to bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

I kinda sorta got my wish with a 3-0 scoreline which secured the team’s progress to the quarterfinals, but I take back my snark. The vast majority of fans and pundits this morning know what last night likely was: an impressive result (though against par European talent) which may take pressure off Moyes and improve the mood in the dressing room, it isn’t going to move the needle much in terms of the league.

What we got were individually good performances from David De Gea, Rooney, Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs, the latter of whom notched two assists and was notably the player who, rumour has it, blew up at Moyes in the dressing room after last Sunday’s loss.

“Yet another age-defying contribution from Ryan Giggs inspired a sea-change in quality, urgency and desire…” wrote one. And it’s true, he put in a blinder and was instrumental in thee win. Gary Neville went so far as to wonder aloud why Giggs hasn’t played more often this season, as if there wasn’t already evidence on the books that his contributions had not always been consistent.

Chances are though that Giggs will go back to being Giggs, Robin van Persie will not explode into ‘form’ (whatever that is) and Moyes’ team will not suddenly receive a collective boost from a good win that will fade in the memory after the next mediocre one. If anything, last night was a flash of the United that could have been this season and perhaps could be again.