When Manchester United faced off against Midtjylland for the first leg of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, in many ways, the game was an important one. The Red Devils were looking to save face, after a disappointing season in the Premier League and an early exit from the Champions League; these troubles have left the once-dominant English heavyweights looking almost weak. The Europa League could prove to be United's last shot at a trophy for the 2015/16 campaign.
And yet, there was a least one thing missing from United's big round of 32 game: Manchester United fans.
Tottenham Hotspur's excellent recent run of form in the Premier League has propelled them to second place and the biggest challengers to Leicester City to win the title this season.
It's not a battle for supremacy in England's top flight which would have been expected at the beginning of the campaign, but Spurs and the Foxes have proved to be the most consistent and resilient sides around.
Now, with increasing games on the London side's fixture list thanks to their Europa League exploits, manager Mauricio Pochettino needs to weigh up the benefits of keeping a successful side playing together regularly, against the burn-out and possible fatigue accumulation which could severely hamper the charge for silverware in the latter stages of the season.
Just when Fiorentina's joyous creative midfielder, Matias Fernandez, was beginning to gain Paulo Sousa's trust and be granted some meaningful minutes, he unfortunately picked the wrong time to get himself sent off for the first time in his footballing career in Europe against Bologna on February 6.
For Fernandez, who's had to be content sitting on the bench and being very much a peripheral figure at La Viola this season, he must have felt like he'd undone so much of his good work.
While this was just the third sending off of the 29-year-old's much storied career, the other two coming for Chile and Colo Colo, considering this is now his 10th year in Europe, it's quite astonishing how long he went without receiving his marching orders.
On February 1st, the news broke that Erik Hamren would be stepping down from his position as head coach of the Sweden national football team. The good news for fans of the coach is that his exit won't be immediate. Hamren will stay on as the manager of the Swedish soccer squad until after this summer's European Championship in France.
So far, there is no word about who might replace Erik as Sweden's coach-either in the form of official statements or major rumors. However, most soccer pundits will probably posit Hamren's departure as an event that was a long time coming. The 58-year-old Swedish-born manager took over the role as Sweden's manager in