Manchester United vs VfL Wolfsburg: Preview

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UnitedMatchday Two of the Champions League is fast approaching and one thing for sure is that VfL Wolfsburg should provide something of a tougher test than United’s previous opponents in the competition. Yes while Besiktas were plucky and persistent, the German champions are a far more accomplished outfit and you’ve probably heard that they’re not too bad up front either.

That’s because in Brazilian striker Grafite and Bosnian international Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg possess one of the deadliest strike partnerships in Europe. The duo managed a record 54 goals between them in the Bundesliga last season and throw in Obafemi Martins, a player who certainly knows a thing or two about scoring at Old Trafford, and you’re faced with a pretty potent attacking trio.

It’s fair to say that United have a few attacking options themselves and Saturday’s win over Stoke City in the Premier League was utterly satisfying, considering the nature in which the lads dominated from start to finish in a game one would have expected to have been decidedly even. That result stretches the 100 per cent record to seven games now and Wolfsburg at home will present the chance to keep that run ticking over.

The team shouldn’t change drastically from the trip to the Britannia Stadium with, bar a late injury set-back, the back five of Foster, Evra, O’Shea, Ferdinand and Vidic remaining unchanged.

As we have come to expect with a Ferguson midfield there will undoubtedly be a slight adjustment and Nani is arguably the most likely to drop out for the ever impressive Ryan Giggs. That could also see Paul Scholes given a rest as a result with Michael Carrick and Anderson fully charged and raring to go in hope of lining up alongside Darren Fletcher.

It is my view that Fletcher will have to start if United are to nullify the threat of Zvjezdan Misimovic, a midfield playmaker who grabbed an eye-catching 18 assists in the German league last term. Not to mention that the combative midfielder is the best thing to have come out of Scotland since Braveheart and Sir Alex.

While Ferguson has often reverted to a 4-5-1 formation when away from home in the Champions League, Old Trafford is a different kettle of fish and thus you would think that the Scot will opt for a Rooney-Berbatov partnership up top.

In the build-up to the game Sir Alex has insisted that he will not underestimate the attacking prowess of the Wolfsburg side.

“The two strikers [Dzeko and Grafite] scored an incredible tally of goals last season. 71 in a season is incredible for two strikers,” the United boss is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

“In terms of Dzeko, he was a player we saw and I was very impressed by him. Wolfsburg are a team that scores a lot of goals, but they also lose a few.

Ferguson went on to maintain that reaching the 10 point mark is the aim for the group stages of Europe’s pinnacle club competition.

“In a group of four teams, you just want to get to 10 points as quickly as possible,” he added.

“The quicker you do it, the better it is for obvious reasons. But we have only played once so far and we have to maintain our consistency and concentration in these matches.”

Former Newcastle striker Martins spoke to BBC Sport about the threat of United even without Ronaldo and Tevez and that the team are capable of providing the goals from all over the pitch.

“Even without Ronaldo and Tevez, I would say you face the same problems playing against United. In fact, I would even say they are playing much better than before,” the Nigerian international said

“When Ronaldo was on the pitch, everyone looked to him, expecting him to change the game when his team most needed it.
 
“But now United have a lot of players who can change a game, like Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov. Even the defenders can score goals, so we must watch out for them all over the pitch.”

Statistically things don’t read too well when you consider United’s record against German opposition in the Champions League. Out of a total of fifteen games, the Reds have only picked up four victories with six draws and five losses.

The United back four will certainly have to be on their toes throughout what is sure to be a tense but thoroughly entertaining encounter with the form of Grafite and Dzeko a particular concern. The latter notched his sixth of the campaign against Hannover on Saturday while former Le Mans attacker Grafite scored a Rooney-esque hat-trick on his Champions League debut a couple of weeks back.

With all that said, we are at home at the Theatre of Dreams and certainly have no reason to fear even the greatest teams in world football. While Wolfsburg may not be in that category just yet, they are a wonderfully gifted attacking outfit all the same but United possess just as much fire power and a solid defence to boot.

I would be a tad more apprehensive if we were playing at Wolfburg’s Volkswagen Arena but home advantage should see us through home and dry with Wayne Rooney ultimately proving too hot to handle for Die Wölfe.

Prediction: 2-1 United

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317 Comments

  1. @Red Ranter: Exactly. I live in section called Kitsilano. It’s part of Vancouver. Nobody writes Kitsilano on their address or on postage replies. Districts within cities have names. That does not mean they are towns or cities in their own right. Especially when a bigger borough like Manchester has long ago annexed the region.

  2. @Grognard: Well it may not be English, but it’s British (Columbian). 😀

    All you posters out must remember that Grognard is part British! 😆 😆

  3. @Red Ranter: Why don’t we all just tell Dan that he’s “right” and not “wrong”, then maybe he could move on to something he really feels passionate about. Like Foster’s wonderful form so far!! 😀 😀

  4. @Grognard: Oh shit, I don’t mind being in the minority, but the Nazi’s are not my bag, mate!! 🙂

    If you’re a man of the world, it would make things cool with me!! 🙂

  5. @Red Ranter: Eh? Stretford is in the borough of trafford, which is in greater manchester, not manchester the borough.

    “Greater” manchester only came into existence in 1974. Old trafford was built in 1910. newton heath was renamed manchester united in 1902. So for 8 years only, Manchester united were based in manchester. After that, they were based in trafford.

    Again, “Greater” manchester only came into existence in 1974. We are not called manchester united because we are from greater manchester, we are called manchester united because we are originally from manchester, but not anymore.

  6. @Dan: I do have an idea of history of Manchester (the City as well as the Metropolitan area). Read what was written first. It’s Trafford Council that’s in Stretford. Not the Trafford Borough. He was referring to the address of Trafford Council — if you Google its address it will give you what Cyclops pasted in his comment. I know the difference between the City of Manchester and Greater Manchester metropolitan area. And I know it came into existence in 1974.

    The fact that we were called Manchester United despite not being in City of Manchester (which is the crux of the argument) was because the concept of “Manchester” — even if it wasn’t written in stone, still existed but wasn’t crystallised into the words: Greater Manchester. The Germans called the area Greater Manchester (in German) even before the concept came into use in England, well before the 20th century. Manchester was among the pride of England industry, and it’s obvious the people that lived in the suburb areas would go to work in the City — and consider where they lived also as part of Manchester.

    Calling our club, Manchester United was a misnomer only as far as the fact that it was outside the City of Manchester. And doesn’t take into account that a few people sat together and came up with a name, maybe because they might have felt some sort of a connection with Manchester — I don’t know, because it was associated with a big City at the time. It could have happened in Bolton, or in Wigan, or in Bury.

    You are making this argument about technicalities and the fact that you are being pedantic over it is what is annoying people out here. It’s a fuckin’ name, given to a club. And it wasn’t even done with an opinion poll or anything. A couple of investors and his friends came up with it.

    And isn’t Old Trafford a 15 minute drive from the old Maine Road? Hell, my daily drive to work is about 20 minutes with no traffic and I’m pretty sure I live in the same city as I work!

    This argument is pointless getting all uppity and certainly not worth calling people twats over it.

  7. @Dan: It amazes me how bold you are about dishing out insults from the safety of your computer screen.
    If you said that to my face, I’d put you across my knee and spank you like the petulant child that you are!

  8. @Redrich: 🙄

    You want to make fun of me, ill call you a twat. You honestly think i wouldnt say that to your face?

    You need to grow thick skin, and stop being an arse. Before you say you werent, making jokes with grognard at me expense, is being an arse.

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