Man Utd vs Shakhtar Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man & Predicted Score
Manchester United play their final Champions League group game tonight when they welcome Shakhtar Donetsk to old Trafford. Here’s a preview with team news.
Manchester United play their final Champions League group game tonight when they welcome Shakhtar Donetsk to old Trafford.
The Red Devils have already secured qualification to the knockout stages thanks to a 5-0 win away at Bayer Leverkusen last time out but will need to avoid defeat this evening to ensure they finish top of Group A and hopefully earn themselves a more favourable draw in the next phase.
David Moyes would ideally have used this game to rest some of his key men but a number of injuries and some disappointing results of late mean the Scot is likely to go with a stronger than usual line-up.
United have suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Everton and Newcastle at Old Trafford during the last week so Moyes will be desperate to halt that run and prevent the champions from losing three consecutive home games for the first time in over 40 years.
Shakhtar arrive in Manchester knowing they need to better Leverkusen’s result at Real Sociedad to secure qualification to the last 16 while a win would ensure they finish in top spot.
Moyes is able to welcome Shinji Kagawa back into the squad after he missed the defeat to Newcastle through illness, and the Japanese playmaker could come straight back in to the starting line-up.
Wayne Rooney is set to be recalled after serving a one-match domestic ban and he could replace Robin van Persie up front with the Dutchman potentially being handed a rest after only just returning from a month out with a niggling groin injury.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini missed training on Monday and a late decision will be made over his involvement but Moyes will be keen to get him available with Michael Carrick still out nursing an Achilles injury.
Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck may get starts but Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling are all major doubts after missing training on Monday. If they are ruled out, Rio Ferdinand and Alexander Buttner are on stand-by to come in.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu has no fresh injury worries to contend with and brings a fully-fit squad with him to Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney: Moyes will be glad to have the Englishman back in the team and his presence up front is going to be important tonight, particularly if RVP doesn’t play.
Betting & Predicted Score
Gone are the days when the Red Devils playing at Old Trafford was a ‘home banker’. They’ve already lost four times at the Theater of Dreams this season, which would have been unthinkable under Sir Alex Ferguson, so this game is a difficult one to predict. I don’t see many goals so my No.1 tip is to back under 2.5 goals being scored, and there is some decent value in the draw. 1-1 seems like a tempting scoreline if you like to bet on the exact score.
So my predicted score is Man Utd 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: The Ukrainians are not going to make it easy for United and we can see them taking something away from Old Trafford.
What would be your starting eleven for the game and what’s your score prediction? Share your views below.
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