Preview Basel VS Manchester United
Basel Againts Manchester United
Having drawn three of their opening five Champions League group C games, United find themselves needing a draw against Basel In Switzerland to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
United’s recent run of 1-0 score-lines has seen them dig themselves out of a hole domestically and a result in Switzerland would see them rectify this season’s European adventure after and indifferent start.
When Manchester United need a result they invariably get it but the memories of Portugal six years ago still haunts Sir Alex Ferguson as the Reds lost 2-1 away to Benfica when all they needed was a draw to qualify.
If there is one thing Manchester United never lose in any circumstances it is their resilience to bounce back from adversity. Making life difficult for themselves is their trademark and plunging into crisis when all is going well has been their party-piece over the years. With United’s Champions League quest still hanging in the balance and being five points behind leaders City in the Premier League, there is still grounds for concern over their 2011/2012 campaign.
But this is the Manchester United we know and love. the one that puts us through the mill, the team that has to take everything down to the wire, the team that gives everyone else false hope only to snatch the glory at the last possible second. Its their most endearing feature, it is why they have continued to frustrate teams over the years and it is above all else what sets Manchester United apart from all other teams. They just will not lie down.
So when Fergie’s men take to the field against Basel on Wednesday night there is every chance that they will do it the hard way and put us through ninety minutes of nail-biting, hair-pulling drama. They may well cut our nerves into shreds and leave us in a dishevelled state of unbearable tension.
However securing qualification for the next stage would see United free of mid-week European commitments until the end of February and their next run of fixtures in the league are favourable ones which could see them close the gap on rivals City. If United achieve this feat, then considering they were losing 3-2 against Basel with a minute to go at Old Trafford in September, considering billionaires City thumped United 6-1 at Old Trafford to go 5 points clear, considering the Reds have been ravaged by the worst bout of injuries in recent memory, this match could be the start of one of the greatest turnarounds in a season for years.
In a complete reversal from last season, Manchester United’s away form this season has been better than their home form. They have only conceded 3 away goals in the league and 1 away goal in Europe. Compare that with 10 league goals at home and 5 European Goals at Old Trafford. Even United’s Carling cup venture saw two clean sheets away from home, only to concede 2 at home to Crystal Palace. The Reds are infact unbeaten in 11 away games in all competitions this season and if they continue this unbeaten sequence against Basel on Wednesday they will qualify for the next stage of the Champions League.
The best news about this game is that Vidic returns from his suspension, and his form this season has been staggering. Astonishingly, the only times Manchester United have conceded with him on the pitch have been De Gea’s blooper on the opening day of the season and Newcastle’s crazy penalty. No-one else has even had a sniff.
United’s defence should therefore pick itself, with the rested De Gea returning in goal, and the Vidic-Ferdinand partnership continuing in front of him. Evra and Smalling will deploy the fullback roles.
With Carrick suspended for this tie, and Anderson and Cleverley injured, this leaves Fergie with the option to play Jones in midfield for the second game running. He may partner Fletcher and Giggs in a midfield three. Nani will play on the right with Ashley Young or Ji Sung Park on the left.
Rooney looks certain to start upfront and Welbeck will be on the bench. United will be without injured strikers Hernandez, Berbatov and Owen.
- United have committed the fewest fouls in the Champions League this season (48).
- The Reds have lost just one of their last 25 Champions League away games which was against Bayern Munich in 2010 (W16 D8 L1).
- United have conceded just one goal in their last eight Champions League away games.
- Basel have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 games in European competition
- The three Champions League meetings between Basel and Manchester United have produced 12 goals.
- A win for United against the Swiss champions would see them be the first team to win 100 games in the Champions League.
United: (from) De Gea, Lindegaard, Smalling, Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, Vidic, Jones, Fletcher, Gibson, Park, Giggs, Morrison, Valencia, Young, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck, Macheda.
Injured: Rafael, Fabio, Anderson, Cleverley, Hernandez, Berbatov, Owen.
Basel: (from) Sommer, Joo-ho, Degan, Ajeti, Dragovic, Schurpf, Huggel, Streller, Chipperfield, A. Frei, Stocker, T. Xhaka, Shaqiri, Hertzog, Abraham, F. Frei, Kusunga, Colomba, Cabral, Buess, Steinhofer, Andrist, Kovac, Tembo, Zoua, Weiser, G. Xhaka, Kwang-Ryong.
Injured: Voser, Yapi
Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Ground: St Jakob Park, Basel, Switzerland.
( Source : redarmy.co.uk )