Basel - Manchester United Preview: Sir Alex Ferguson's men search for point to book place in Champions League knockout stages
The Red Devils travel to Switzerland knowing a draw will see them through, while a home win will enable the hosts to qualify from the group stage for the first time since 2003
By Liam Twomey
Steinhofer, Abraham, Dragovic, J.Park
Shaqiri, Huggel, G.Xhaka, F.Frei
Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Nani, Jones, Fletcher, Young
For United, the absence of Michael Carrick through suspension means Sir Alex Ferguson will almost certainly persist with Phil Jones in the centre of midfield, with Chris Smalling deputising at right-back.
Up front, the ankle injury sustained by Javier Hernandez means Danny Welbeck is likely to be the man linking up with Wayne Rooney.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Basel need to win on Wednesday night in order to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, while a draw will suffice for Manchester United.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in the three previous meetings between the sides, winning once and drawing twice.
- If Basel qualify from Group C, it will be only the second time they have gone beyond the first group stage of the Champions League. The first time, back in 2003, they reached a second group stage, and ultimately missed out on the quarter-finals only by goal difference.
- Manchester United have reached the Champions League final in three of the last four years, and currently sit top of the Uefa club coefficient rankings.
- Basel are currently on a run of nine straight victories in domestic competitions, and have only lost three of their 25 matches in all competitions this season.
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last 25 away matches in the Champions League.
- Both teams have scored in each of the three previous meetings between the sides.
- Basel keeper Yann Sommer and Manchester United stopper David de Gea faced each other in last summer’s European Under-21 Championship final, with De Gea’s Spain triumphing 2-0 over Sommer’s Switzerland.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for a £50 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Basel 0-2 Manchester United
- 24.87 %
Basel 1-2 Manchester United
- 14.59 %
Basel 1-3 Manchester United
- 11.54 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||7 Dec 2011||Basel 2 - Manchester United 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||27 Sep 2011||Manchester United 3 - Basel 3|
|14 Dec 2013||Basel 1 - FC Luzern 1||SUI1|
|11 Dec 2013||FC Schalke 04 2 - Basel 0||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Basel 1 - Grasshoppers 1||SUI1|
|1 Dec 2013||Young Boys 2 - Basel 2||SUI1|
|26 Nov 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
Despite missing his side’s trip to Old Trafford earlier in the group, Shaqiri will already be familiar to many British viewers. Scorer of a stunning long-range consolation goal for Switzerland against England in a Euro 2012 qualifier last September, the 20-year-old once again showcased his pace, power and skill in guiding his country’s Under-21s to the last summer’s European Championship final. He is destined for bigger things, but United will have to be alert to ensure he doesn’t add to his burgeoning reputation on Wednesday.
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, Rooney has been United’s undisputed talisman. The versatility of his exceptional talent means he contributes both a cutting edge and formidable guile to the Red Devils' attack. In the absence of poacher-in-chief Chicharito, United will rely on Rooney more than ever on Wednesday night but, if on song, he is more than capable of shouldering the burden.
United will have the better of the opening exchanges and will make their early superiority count by taking the lead. Basel will rally as the game wears on, but United’s formidable defence will ensure a comfortable passage to the knockout stages.