European finals week ended with defeat for the two Manchester clubs, both of whom started the games as favourites to lift the trophies.
First up were Man U against a much inferior Villarreal side that had just finished their league in seventh. Despite the gulf in class and salaries between the players, Villarreal got off to a flyer scoring after 29 mins through Moreno. The goal deflated Man U who struggled for any domination of the ball or the opposition. Cavani equalised in the second half but the match petered out as Man U failed to get any momentum from the goal.
After a poor 90 mins and an uneventful extra-time, the game went to penalties and this is where a dull game livened up. Both sides produced a penalty taking master class until De Gea missed his and Villarreal won the game 11-10 on pens. The game was a disaster for Man U on many levels. After spending almost one billion on players since Fergie's departure, Solskjaer was reduced to bringing on Mata, James and Telles in extra-time, their squad riddled with nobodies and has-beens. Questions will be asked of the Norwegian manager as to why the players failed to turn up for the biggest game of the season. At a time of fan disapproval of the owners, a very winnable final looked like going some way to placate the fans and provide a springboard for next season, instead it is back to the drawing board to try to find a way to get United to the level of City and Liverpool.
Next up was my team, City, against Chelsea in the big one. City started as favourites despite Chelsea having beaten us twice this year already. So, it was with some surprise when I saw the City starting eleven without either Fernandinho or Rodri. This was either football suicide or genius from Pep and it turned out to be the former. City just weren't at the races. De Bruyne and Foden were not performing to their usual levels and Sterling, who has had a poor season, did not show anything.
But to put City's defeat down to a poor City performance would be to do a disservice to Chelsea. They were magnificent. They were set up perfectly to deny City space and were first to the second ball almost every time. Their defenders put in a string of superb blocks and tackles throughout the game, and the midfield looked dangerous on the break. And it was a break that provided the goal when Mount put Havertz clean through. Chelsea's most expensive player ever making no mistake, rounding the City keeper to bag the winner.
It was going to take a moment of genius to get City back into the game and that moment never looked like coming. Chilwell and Recce James dominated Sterling and Mahrez on the wings, and Rudiger, Christensen and Kante were immense at stopping everything coming through the middle. Tactically Tuchel handed Pep his arse.
While a sobering night for City, it wasn't the disaster that Man U suffered as we had already won the league by 12 points and picked up a domestic cup. However, questions will persist about Pep not winning the ECL since his Barça days and, really, he only has himself to blame this time. He made crucial mistakes with his line up and tactics, clearly over-thinking the match.
But at the end of the day Chelsea were simply better and hungrier. So, congratulations to Emery's Villarreal and Tuchel's Chelsea for their well-deserved victories and hopefully next season we will have full stadiums again in football's best competitions.