United hoping to breach Leverkusen’s fortress


prediksi-skor-ucl-bayer-leverkusen-vs-manchester-united-28nov-2013Manchester United face Bayer Leverkusen tonight in the Champions League, hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday’s draw at Cardiff and, more crucially, take a decisive step towards the knockout stage of the competition.

It won’t, however, be an easy task – a rather recurrent theme this season – as while United arrive in Germany still unbeaten and top of Group A, their route to the knockout stage could become extremely trickier were they to fail to pick up a positive result tonight, against a Leverkusen team that has won the last seven games in the Champions League on home turf.

United’s away record, on the other hand, is rather more sober, with the Reds having failed to win their last four away games in the Champions League, equalling the disastrous record set between February 2004 and December 2005, when United lost five and drew three of their eight games on the road in Europe’s elite competition.

Having started their European campaign with a win against Leverkusen and a draw in Donetsk, United made things difficult for themselves by stumbling to a tragically dull 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad on matchday four, meaning they’ll take the pitch tonight with a slim one point lead over Leverkusen and, more worryingly, only three points clear of Shakthar.

Considering the way United have played this season, a defeat against Leverkusen is far from unfathomable, while the Ukrainians are widely expected to secure three points against Real Sociedad, which would turn United vs Shakthar in two weeks time into a qualifying decider, exactly the sort of scenario David Moyes and our cardiovascular systems could do without.

Leverkusen have never beaten United in five previous encounters in the Champions League and have never kept a clean sheet, but the 0-0 draw in the return leg of the 2002 semifinal felt very much like a defeat, given it prevented United from reaching the final in Glasgow.

While United toil away in the Premier League, Sami Hyypia’s men have won four of their last five Bundesliga games and sit comfortably in second place, just four points from league leaders Bayern Munich, but will be without Sidney Sam, after the 25-year-old striker suffered a thigh injury on Saturday.

Sam’s absence is likely to be a huge blow for Leverkusen, given that the Germany international has been their player of the season so far, scoring seven and assisting five goals in the Bundesliga, but Hyypia is likely to opt for a like-for-like replacement rather than disrupt his 4-3-3- formation.

Nemanja Vidic and Robin Van Persie could return for United and while the former will be tasked with handling Stefan Kiessling, who’s already scored twice in four Champions League games, the latter is expected to be deployed up-front with Wayne Rooney in support, while Antonio Valencia and one between Nani and Shinji Kagawa could start on the flank.

As usual, however, United are likely to suffer in the middle of the park, where an already stretched squad because of injuries to Michael Carrick and Phil Jones has its options limited even further by Marouane Fellaini’s suspension – even though, in hindsight, the Belgian’s enforced absence might be a blessing in disguise.

That leaves David Moyes with a midfield duo of Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley – given that Anderson surely can’t be deployed at this level -which, quite frankly, aren’t likely to scare Lars Bender and Simon Rolfes.

A win would seal United’s progression to the round of 16 and give Moyes a confidence boost ahead of Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane, a defeat would see the few remaining ounces of the feel good factor generated by the success Arsenal evaporate once and for all.




  1. RVP and Vida have been confirmed as not available to play tonight as they both didn’t travel.

    If losing RVP to injury means that Rooney is our lead striker tonight with Kagawa behind him then I would say it’s a good injury.

    If Moyes fields Anderson and Cleverley together tonight and they spark up the chemistry of yesteryear again then I would say having Carrick out is a blessing in disguise.

    And if Kagawa is still not ready or Moyes doesn’t have the brains to play kagawa at no.10 then I hope that he will at least play Januzaj at no.10 then. We need a real no.10 running the show. Not that oaf Rooney.

    These are the kinds of things I will be looking for.

    I would love to see a victory tonight.

    But my frustration continues because it is David Moyes in charge.

    This is a difficult time. (at least it is for this United fan)

  2. Not confident of getting a result tonight. Moyes is setting his negative stall out early this week. He hopes “we can get some sort of a result”. I imagine we’ll do our usual shite of playing to not get beaten. Bayer will probably boss the MF and dominate the game. They were really poor in the game at Old Trafford so ill expect a much tougher test tonight.
    Can see us needing to beat Shaktar in the last game to qualify. Which could be tricky, especially as we’ll be playing for the last spot with Shaktar.

    Have no confidence that Moyes will pick the right team, or play the right kind of game. Going into this game with more hope than expectation. Again.

  3. with all due respect every year away from home in the CL Utd have played not to get beaten.Sir Alex has always gone with a defensive minded set up unless Utd needed to win,so please save the Moyes negativity bollocks

    • @wayne: I’ll save the Moyes negativity “bollocks” when Moyes gives up his negative philosophy.
      Doesn’t matter what the game is or which competition we’re playing in, Moyes is negative and there’s nothing wrong in acknowledging that.
      I’m waiting for him to show me something else, but as of yet, no sign of anything remotely resembling a positive approach.

  4. A draw is enough to keep us top going into the last game, so no doubt it’ll be a case of setting up not to lose rather than to win, with Moyes saying that he would’ve taken a point before the game as it’s a hard place to come 🙄
    Leverkusen are a good team, but as shown in the home league, defensively they are woeful, and without Sidney Sam whose suspended/injured, we should be going there with no intention other than to win.
    The fact that we can guarantee qualification with a win should be yet another reason.

    As for team selection, personally I hope Nani is back in the team again. One albeit awful game and then he’s dropped for weeks, whilst Valencia continues to show nothing exciting or positive like we should be expecting from a United winger, and yet he’s continuously in the team 🙄
    Kagawa should be starting in the number 10 position if RVP is out and Januzaj also should be starting as he really has become that vital a player for us already at 18.
    If he’s fit then I’d like to see Jones in the midfield again, as he’s actually really surprised me with how good he’s looked when he plays there.
    I mean his ball retention needs work, and long term he’s still a CB imo, but I love his work rate and bust a gut attitude, he’s usually very mobile being here there and everywhere and it has to be said in the few games he’s featured there our midfield has actually looked half way decent and hasn’t been so overpowered so much.
    I’d probably go with Giggs alongside him, which just looks so utterly depressing but it speaks volumes about how bad some of our other options have been.
    I also hope and pray that Rafael is back fit soon. Smalling does a decent enough job, but he is not a bloody RB. I hate this love in we have at the club playing players out of their natural positions. Especially when we’re overlooking talented players like Fabio, to whom RB is his natural position.
    At LB I hope Evra isn’t playing, partly because I’m still pissed off with his lazy casual switching off for the Cardiff equaliser and partly because with Spurs on the weekend, and an annual raping down his side from Lennon or now Townsend, it’s probably better he’s rested for this.

    Team I’d like to see tonight:

    ———De Gea———

    Outside of the front 4, that team just looks so average on paper, but right now it’s probably our best bet.
    It just reinforces the need for some signings being made in January.

    • @tonymontanna4united: Jones is injured so you probably gonna see Cleverley Giggs or Cleverley Anderson.

      But I agree that Jones has done really well in midfield.

      David the disappointment Moyes might miss the chance to play Kagawa at number 10 because his is just too mentally handicapped to see that opportunity.

      I would also prefer Buttner to Fabio on the left.

      But I agree about Nani needing to play.

      And Januzaj being vital.

      Please David Moyes do the right thing. . .

      • @The_Philosopher: THink Jones has travelled and is fit, so good chance he’ll start in MF. Unfortuantely it will probably be alongside the ageing Giggs and his tired legs.
        Valencia will play because Moyes sees him as solid defensively, and apparently, that’s all that counts. F*ck attacking threat.
        Smalling at RB, even though he’s shown regularly that he struggles in that position, when it should really be Rafael.
        Evra will most likelly be at LB seeing as Moyes clearly doesn’t rate either Buttner or Fabio.
        Agree it’s a golden chance for Kagawa at #10, hopefully Moyes sees it that way too.
        Januzaj on the bench.

  5. Anyone expecting a win from this match is setting themselves up for a heartbreak. A draw is a more realistic result then we can wrap things up in the last game.

  6. The_Philosopher give it a rest with the Moyes bashing just getting boring just about every comment,apart from 2 late goals Utd would be second in the league and last time i checked were top of the CL group.He’s Utd’s manager get used to it and get behind him,if not all it makes you is a plastic or ABU simple as

  7. That was actually a really positive and rather entertaining first 45 minutes from us.
    Our tempo has been good, the players actually look like they want to try and take opposition players on and play into the space, there’s been some nice little one two’s and silky passes and surprise surprise we’re creating chances because of it.
    Please for the love of God Moyes, please don’t send us out 2nd half now trying to hold onto what we’ve got. Just fucking please no.

    PS- Sadly watching Rio it really does need to be said that the guy really needs to retire in the summer. It’s just painful watching him these days.

  8. In everything we need to acknowledge one thing. Giggs produced an absolute masterclass of a performance. Rooney is still the chief engineer of goals. He really has been on top of his game this season.

    But while we are at it,Kagawa should play in the hole or be sold. No other alternative for me.We looka completely different team when he plays there. Every attack looks menacing and his movement is a real game changer. We have nothing to lose now. Kagawa and Rooney upfront till the Dutchman returns then we weigh in our options

    • @Jay Wire: Rooney should be played on the left.

      2 of the goals he contributed to were from the left. Rooney needs to play on the left.

      RVP upfront.

      Kagawa behind him

      Rooney on the left.

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