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Manchester United Fixtures

Dinged-Up United Host Basel

It wasn’t exactly a job well done, but it was mission at least somewhat accomplished two weeks ago in Lisbon, as Manchester United opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw at Benfica. Tonight, United will look to record their first group win and claim pole position in Group C as they welcome Swiss side FC Basel to Old Trafford. It’s a certainty that we’ll see a less than full strength side, perhaps more so because of the spate of injuries that have crept up for United recently than tonight’s opposition, but a comfortable victory should nonetheless be on the horizon.

RECENT HISTORY

When last these two sides met, they were paired together in the second group stage of the 2002/03 Champions League (the last competition to have that format)

In their first meeting, in November 2002, Basel took a first-minute lead at home through Christian Gimenez, and they held that lead for an hour. But three goals in seven minutes, the first two in quick succession by Ruud van Nistelrooy and the last one by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, gave United a 3-1 win.

When they met at Old Trafford the following March, Gimenez once again gave Basel an early lead, scoring in the 14th minute. United would equalize shortly after the restart, as Gary Neville scored the first of his two career European goals, and the match would finish 1-1.

TEAM ANALYSIS

FC Basel

Basel’s quest to win a third straight Swiss Super League title got off to a slow start, as they won only one of their first six matches, but their form has improved tremendously over the last month.

They were denied a fourth straight league win on the trot on Saturday at FC Thun, surrendering an 81st-minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw, but they’re back on track domestically, and they also started their Champions League group stage campaign on a good note, defeating Otelul Galati 2-1 at home.

Basel have a bevy of young talent that will be on display tonight, but two of the most notable talents won’t be in action. Winger Xherdan Shaqiri, linked with many of Europe’s top clubs including United, is absent due to suspension, while highly-rated midfielder Valentin Stocker, who has been linked with Liverpool in the past, is still out for a while after tearing cruciate ligaments in his right knee in late April.

The Swiss champions do have a few other familiar names in experienced strikers Alexander Frei and Marco Streller, and Czech defender Radoslav Kovac, who was with West Ham for the previous season and a half before joining Basel in the summer.

Manchester United

United’s current injury situation is not ideal, to say the least.

With Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez both sidelined, the options for tonight’s front-line pairing are Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, and Danny Welbeck. Any pairing that involves Rooney would be preferred, given his current form, but any two from those three have more than enough quality to get the job done tonight. Then again, there’s the realistic chance we could see only one man up front, as was the case against Benfica.

Defensively, Nemanja Vidic are Rafael are both still absent, and Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling didn’t train yesterday, so the back four tonight could well consist of Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, and maybe even Antonio Valencia, who was pushed into emergency starting duty at right back after Evans pulled a muscle ahead of Saturday’s draw at Stoke City.

Looking beyond the injuries, it’ll be interesting to see what other selection decisions Fergie makes for tonight. Will we see a more ‘conservative’ midfield as we saw at Benfica, or will Fergie send out some big guns with the intention of starting fast and finishing Basel off early?

PREDICTION

Even without a number of key players, United should take care of business against a Basel side that’s not as strong as it could be either. The earlier the lead the better, the earlier the result is put beyond the doubt the better, and last but certainly not least, the less banged-up United end the night the better.

Score Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Basel

107 Comments

107 Comments

  1. [OPTI]Madschester United

    September 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Tevez, self-respect, hahahahahahaha

  2. Jay wire

    September 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    “you’d expect us to control the game, especially with the misunderstood genius Carrick.”

    Michael Carrick is A football player. Meaning one. He cannot remote control the rest of the team to play sensibly. What are you going to do, if Giggs keeps losing possession in central areas? Can he control the ball for him or tell him to take it easy with the one touch,”attack always” passes, that keep getting intercepted? Can he “cause” Valencia to play it safe in the box, instead of trying to shield the ball? What is he supposed to do about the carelessness the defenders continuously display? Should he punish them? Have you not heard of how Van Der Sar,brought composure and calmness in the box which resulted in the defenders ahead being composed? Fine. Did you watch us being eaten alive by Liverpool at Old Trafford 1-4? Was VDS not playing behind Rio-Vidic etc? Did we look composed?

    For me Carrick, DDG and Welbeck had solid performances individually for our starters. They did very little wrong. Young(ineffective), Anderson(no ideas) and Giggs(sloppy and defensive liability) were irregular, which to me is an overall bad performance. Our defenders, particularly Jones and Fabio,were awful. You could have had Busquets and Alonso in the centre and you’d still have seen the same poor defensive display”you’d expect us to control the game, especially with the misunderstood genius Carrick.”

    Michael Carrick is A football player. Meaning one. He cannot remote control the rest of the team to play sensibly. What are you going to do, if Giggs keeps losing possession in central areas? Can he control the ball for him or tell him to take it easy with the one touch,”attack always” passes, that keep getting intercepted? Can he “cause” Valencia to play it safe in the box, instead of trying to shield the ball? What is he supposed to do about the carelessness the defenders continuously display? Should he punish them? Have you not heard of how Van Der Sar,brought composure and calmness in the box which resulted in the defenders ahead being composed? Fine. Did you watch us being eaten alive by Liverpool at Old Trafford 1-4? Was VDS not playing behind Rio-Vidic etc? Did we look composed?

    For me Carrick, DDG and Welbeck had solid performances individually for our starters. They did very little wrong. Young(ineffective), Anderson(no ideas) and Giggs(sloppy and defensive liability) were irregular, which to me is an overall bad performance. Our defenders, particularly Jones and Fabio,were awful. You could have had Busquets and Alonso in the centre and you’d still have seen the same poor defensive display

    • Craig Mc

      September 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Well Ne-er mind eh Jaywire – we had Nani to come on for last 10 minutes and SAVE THE DAY 😆 😆 😆 👿 . Fergie should have been subbed though after 60 minutes. 😀

  3. Craig Mc

    September 27, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Oh and Jaywire – I thought Carrick was A OK today, and I saw him being interviewed after the game on MUTV and he looked like he was gonna cry, he was hurting so badly. He was one of the players out of our lot who was devestated and hurting that we drew the game, which he said to him felt like a loss!

  4. RedDevilEddy

    September 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I have a lot of my mind but since a lot of people on here seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to today’s draw, I’m not gonna bother. Drawing to Basel says nothing about our credentials to win the Champions League.

    For the past 4 years we have drawn at home to the likes of Rangers, Aalborg, and CSKA Moscow, as well as losing to Besiktas and Copenhagen. Doesn’t mean we haven’t reached 3 finals in the last 4 years and got to the semi’s in 2007.

    Get real folks, one game don’t make a season, just as one sunny day doesn’t make it summer. 🙄

    Oh and loved Welbeck today. Along with Nani, De Gea and Carrick he was the only one who can be proud of their individual game today. Loved Ashley Young’s work rate as well, sometimes I feel it is Park who should be asking Ashley about what he eats! Bad game, lucky draw, bring on Norwich and the next game.

    United!

  5. tonymontanna4united

    September 28, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Jay, your entitled to your opinion regarding carrick or whoever else, as i am entitled to mine. You probably read my carrick bashing posts and think “what the hell is this guy going on about” and i in turn sometimes read your posts defending carrick and equally think “what the hell is this guy talking about, hes over exaggerating points about him that dont exist”. Its the way this game works, and its why, in particular, this blog is such a great place to visit, with such a different range of opinions regarding players, tactics, performances etc.
    I will say though before anyone starts thinking this is merely me just picking on carrick, using him as a scapegoat, that i was always there to praise him when i felt it was due, in the games against chelski, schalke and villa i think it was, last season.
    Indeed i was also probably amongst the first calling for carricks signing way back in 2005, after watching him back in his spurs days after attending a few games down at the lane with a spurs supporting friend.
    I was also very pleased with his performances for the first 2/3 years of his time here, where i felt he was a vital cog in our team.
    So why am i telling you this? Well i just want it to be known that i am 100% not just picking on carrick because its the easy option or that im just going with the crowd, or because i have something against him.
    I just call it as i see it, and to me, the carrick of today and of the last 2 odd years, is just not my cup of tea.
    I can see that his role in the team has changed since his arrival, i can see what his attributes are, and i can see how he’d still be a good player for this team in certain games. When hes on form.
    I just dont happen to think, hes been in form, but for a few patches here and there, for nigh on 2 and a half years, sorry i dont.
    Again, as i say though, thats not to say he doesnt have good games, i just dont think hes gives them consistently enough, and i find his “top bottom leavel” (basically his performances when having a bad game) as not being acceptable enough for an experienced player of his standing.
    So i call it when i see it. Today i did actually say (or meant to say) that his passing was better than usual today, and he didnt look as timid as he has in games gone by.
    However i still dont buy into this “he brings a calmness to the team and dictates the tempo of the play” one iota. Im sorry but i just dont, and every stat from under the sun is not going to change my opinion of him.
    So maybe today he wasnt the worst player on the pitch (i didnt actually name him as that), and he did in fact produce the odd good pass or 2 to his credit. However, as an experienced player in a relatively young, inexperienced team such as todays, i expected more than that.
    I expect more than to merely make the odd decent pass or 2 shifting it out wide, or winning the odd tackle here and there.
    As an experienced member of the squad, i expect him to put in a performance that shows his years of experience. That tells you hes been here and done it all before. That he can come up with exactly whats needed at any point in the match, and stand up and be counted, even when all else around him are failing to do so.
    And thats what annoys me about carrick really. Hes not the worst player in the world, and certainly today wasnt his worst game, but i just look at him most games and feel when the going gets tough, carrick goes running. That he could offer a whole lot more, yet only decides to ever give the bare minimum. I see berba get slated week in week out for not showing enough passion or agression for the cause, and i automatically start thinking carrick is exactly the same.
    Thats just my opinion though, and as ive always tried to say when giving my opinion on any given topic, its just my point of view, its not necessarily a fact or to be viewed as so.
    So anyway, didnt mean to turn this into some long drawn out article, but i just wanted to make it clear that its no grudge on my part, its no vendetta, im not crass enough to not admit when he has a good game.
    I just think the guy is very much a player who plays well when the team is playing well, and vice versa. And i just expect a bit more than that from a player like him, who technically should giving stand out performances most weeks.
    Anyway i dont want to start a whole carrick debate here.

  6. Nikos

    September 28, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I’d like to dedicate this song to Rio Ferdinand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGmAmJFUvzM

  7. Nikos

    September 28, 2011 at 1:24 am

    As for the results till now.

    I’m not a prothet, but since the start of the season it smells like a transitional season. Enthusiasm makes our football great in moments but sometimes it seems that our CMs are out of the game when we play against difficult teams. Chelsea’s pressing would have made us loose by 2 or 3 goals in Stamford Bridge. Stoke’s pressing and crossed made us struggle once again.

    We have to keep on mind that some games should be very testing and others should look so easy this season. It’s sad that our on-fire players were injured, but the fringe players should be ready whenever called. My conclusion : we need a stronger bench that will be able to play -not the same way- but as effective as the first eleven.

  8. donibrasco

    September 28, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I wonder why everyone seems to blame Evra.This is one true champion and fantastic player.Name me any Three better left backs in the world.No one ever seems to notice how our midfield is poor,everyone jumps on one of the best leftbacks in the world for every loss.

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