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UEFA Champions League

  • 22 November 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 74873
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Manchester United - Benfica Preview: Sir Alex Ferguson's men looking to progress to knockout stages with a win

Neither team has lost a single game in the European tournament's group stage, and both find themselves level on eight points after four matches in Group C of the competition


PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra
Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Young
Hernandez, Rooney


BENFICA

Artur
Maxi Pereira, Garay, Luisao, Emerson
Witsel, Garcia
Gaitan, Aimar, Cesar
Cardozo
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to make some changes to his team for this fixture, as Nemanja Vidic's suspension is likely to see Rio Ferdinand partnering Chris Smalling in the heart of defence. Jonny Evans has been reported to have missed training, prompting speculation that he may have encountered a knock.

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney is also thought to have skipped training, which has raised a question mark concerning whether or not the forward will be involved in the tie. However, if fit, the striker should start.

Phil Jones and Fabio should fight for the right-back spot, but the former could clinch it due to his recent performances coupled with the praise he has received from both Sir Alex as well as England boss Fabio Capello.

As far as Benfica are concerned, Ruben Amorim, Bruno Cesar and Nicolas Gaitan are fighting for positions on the flanks, while Oscar Cardozo should receive some support from either Pablo Aimar or Rodrigo.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Manchester United have managed to emerge triumphant against Benfica in six of the last eight meetings between the two sides.
  • The Red Devils and their opponents have not lost a single game in the group stage of Champions League, and are currently level with eight points each. But Sir Alex Ferguson's charges occupy the top spot due to their superior goal difference.
  • The three-time European champions have scored eight goals in four group games. Only Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid have managed to score more goals in their respective fixtures.
  • Since 2002, United have only lost to Besiktas and AC Milan at Old Trafford. This means that they have been defeated only twice in 56 games on their own turf.
  • Benfica managed to beat United back in 2005 in Lisbon, sending them out of the group stage. At the time, it was the first time in over a decade that the Old Trafford club had bowed out of the group stage of the competition.
  • The Portuguese side have been defensively solid in the group stage, conceding only two goals. Marseille and Real Madrid are the only two sides to have shipped fewer.
  • The Lisbon-based club are unbeaten in their last four outings away from home in the European competition. In total, they have gone eight games without suffering a loss.
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Players to watch

J. Hernández

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Wayne Rooney has been reported to have skipped training one day before the game, prompting questions concerning his fitness. So it will be up to Javier Hernandez to shoulder the burden of breaking down a strong Benfica defence if his strike-partner is unable to play on the day.

O. Cardozo

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Oscar Cardozo will likely look towards this fixture and hope to score a goal, if not any more, due to the nature of the Red Devils' back line. With Nemanja Vidic suspended and Jonny Evans having missed training, the Paraguayan will likely want to lead his side to what would be a famous result.

Editor's Prediction

The home side have been achieving the necessary results on their own turf for many years now, and should have no significant trouble registering a victory. But they will have to put in a fair amount of effort to rip through the Portuguese team's defence, which has been miserly so far in the tournament.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

Benfica

Wins
2
2
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
Manchester United FC Manchester United
Draw
SL Benfica SLB
SL Benfica Benfica
86%

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
2 - 0
SL Benfica SLB
Manchester United FC MUN
2 - 1
SL Benfica SLB
Manchester United FC MUN
3 - 1
SL Benfica SLB

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