RETURN OF THE GOLDEN BOY – AND I DON’T MEAN BECKHAM
By Dan Salisbury-Jones.
Tonight Manchester United take on AC Milan in a glamorous Champions League second leg at Old Trafford. United hold a 3-2 advantage going into the tie after victory in the Giuseppe Meazza on the 16th of February.
The Reds will welcome home a prodigal son in David Beckham, he is destined to get a fantastic reception from the Stretford End tonight, but it is of more interest to most United fans that Wayne Rooney should also feature after he trained yesterday returning from a knee injury sustained whilst on England duty.
He has been in tremendous form of late, the 80,000 at the San Siro 3 weeks ago can vouch for that after his headed brace sent United into a dream 3-1 lead.
Whilst Rooney has made a remarkable come back to fitness, there is not such great news about Wes Brown. The versatile defender has broken a bone in his foot and so will not feature for over a month. Ferdinand and Vidic played at the back on Saturday and seem likely to pair up again tonight.
United will also be without Michael Carrick, who was sent off with a second booking in the dying embers of the first leg, for kicking the ball away. This could leave the reds with a bit of a void in the middle as they already have Hargreaves, Anderson and Giggs sidelined through injury.
La Rossoneri will have plenty of options in attack tonight as they look to turn the tie on it’s head. They welcome back Brazilian Pato and the man who got their potentially crucial second goal, Clarence Seedorf. Both of whom were missing in their stalemate with Roma at the weekend.
A worry for those in the press is that David Beckham, may not start. Not to script but threatening non the less for United as Milan left him out along with the above absentees and still managed to field a three pronged attack of Ronaldinho, Huntelaar and Marco Borriello at the weekend.
Since Milan were humbled by United for the first time ever on Italian soil, they have pushed on in Serie A taking 3 points from Bari, Atalanta and Fiorentina before the draw with Roma (who have been in fantastic form). They scored 7 goals in their 3 victories and so will be confident of at least netting at Old Trafford tonight.
The key man to watch tonight could be David Beckham, the storytellers would love it that way but for me the reds have to be careful of the threat posed by Pato. He has scored 4 of Milan’s 7 goals since the defeat to United and the one game he missed? The goalless draw with Roma.
Their manager Leonardo is confident his team can turn it around citing ‘we are playing well since the first leg, so we are confident.’ He is more concerned about the team aspect to this game also than individuals like Beckham and wants the perfect team performance. 3-0 in the San Siro, 2007 anybody?
So a potentially nervy night inside at the theatre of dreams, Milan will be hoping for an early goal to really set the game alight. It has all the makings of a classic, something tells me it won’t be as simple as last nights win for Arsenal. This is Manchester United in Europe after all, when was it ever simple?!
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