It hasn’t been a good week of European football for Newcastle and Manchester United.
Both sides went into Matchday 4 of the Champions League off the back of 1-0 wins in the Premier League and would’ve considered their upcoming European fixtures as ones they really needed to take points from.
But Newcastle were outclassed in Dortmund on Tuesday night, before Manchester United shot themselves in the foot in Copenhagen, losing 4-3 despite leading twice. As a result, both sides now sit bottom of their respective Champions League groups.
While you don’t need a prediction model to tell you that bottom is a less-than-ideal position to be in, we can use the Opta supercomputer to quantify just how difficult it will now be for each side to qualify for the last 16.
Manchester United – Group A
Going into Wednesday’s game away to FC Copenhagen, Manchester United had a 46.2% chance of qualifying for the last 16. A win in Denmark – a game in which they were strong favourites – would’ve put them in pole position to qualify in second behind Bayern Munich.
But Man Utd’s 4-3 defeat has totally changed the complexion of the group. Their chances of going through have cratered to just 26.2%, which is lower than any other team in Group A, including Copenhagen (28.6%).
It gets worse. The supercomputer estimates that finishing fourth (38.3%) is United’s most likely position, which would mean they don’t even drop into the Europa League. The chance they finish third in the group isn’t too far behind that figure, at 35.5%, while their odds of finishing second are 26.2%.
Newcastle – Group F
Ahead of their trip to Dortmund earlier in the week, Newcastle were second in Group F and had a 54.4% chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. Paris Saint-Germain had been favourites to progress at 80.7%, but Newcastle had the second-highest chance of doing so according to our predictor.
But Tuesday’s results shook everything up. Milan ousted PSG at home, while Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Newcastle took them to the top of the group.
It’s now Edin Terzić’s men who have a stranglehold on Group F, with the supercomputer giving them a 73.2% chance of qualifying for the last 16, and a 51.4% shot at finishing first.
Newcastle’s defeat has seen their chances of reaching the last 16 fall to 23.8%. That’s a 30.6% drop compared to their odds coming into the Dortmund game.
Eddie Howe’s side have a very tricky trip to the Parc des Princes coming up next before a potentially huge clash with Milan at St James’ Park. That final game could well decide who finishes third in the group and who will be saying goodbye to European football for another season.