By Imran Kardar
It can’t get any simpler than this for Manchester United in the Champions League, win and the team will book a place in the knockout stages. The problem for united is that scoring and winning a game these days is not all that simple!
Having missed out on a golden opportunity to put themselves in the knockout stages of the Champions League by winning the home game to PSV, United will now have to do it the hard way by trying to beat Wolfsburg in Germany to go through. I have to say it doesn’t look good for United. Having key players out with injuries and with a misfiring attack United might find scoring a bit difficult on the night. The assuring thing is that even in the 0-0 draw on the weekend against West Ham United had created 21 chances at goal, what was lacking was the finishing from the players. And that is what has been lacking from United for a while now, a striker who scores goals. LVG will need to get the players to create the same number of chances and just hope that the players that they fall to can convert.
United will be missing Valencia, Shaw, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Rooney and Jones for this tie. That doesn’t leave LVG with many options if he needs to change things around and bring on some experience to try and win the game. Won’t even get in to the keeper prediction as that’s a give in. The defense should line up as Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Young. With either Young at left back or right back and Darmian on the opposite flank. In the middle of the park, given the injuries, LVG has no choice but to start Carrick and Schweinsteiger. Schneiderlin could be sorely missed here as he has the ability to break up play and can get around the pitch with ease. The attacking trio should line up as Mata, Fellaini and Depay with Martial up front. I would like to see Depay and Martial swap places during the game for this match so that it causes the Wolfsburg defense some problems.
The Red Devils will need to start off the game on the front foot and attack the opposition. An early goal could be the key here and if United manage to get that then they’ll be able to settle down the nerves and maybe play their natural game. Some key battles in the game could be Martial vs Dante. As we know Dante isn’t the quickest of defenders going around so Martial can exploit that weakness with his blistering pace. There is surely to be a midfield battle between Schweinsteiger and Draxler. This is the kind of game Schweinsteiger has been bought for. He brings bags and bags of experience and will need to have a big game and command the midfield. Smalling could be put to the test as well when he comes up against Dost. He has to make sure that the tall striker isn’t able to dominate him in the air and win headers.
So this is it Manchester United fans! Do or die! Win and we go through, draw then we need PSV to draw against CSKA at home, lose then we need CSKA to beat PSV away. I would like to keep it simple and have United beat Wolfsburg, can I be greedy and ask for many goal?! GGMU!