Man Utd vs Olympiakos Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man + Prediction
Manchester United welcome Olympiakos to Old Trafford this evening in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. Here’s a preview with team news.
Manchester United welcome Olympiakos to Old Trafford this evening in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
United head into the game needing to overturn a two-goal deficit having lost 2-0 in the first leg in Greece three weeks ago thanks to goals from Alejandro Dominguez and on-loan Arsenal forward Joel Campbell.
Their preparations have been overshadowed by question marks over the future of boss David Moyes following Sunday’s humiliating 3-0 home defeat to rivals Liverpool, so the Scot will be demanding a response tonight to prove his doubters wrong.
The defending Premier League champions are currently languishing down in seventh place, a full 12 points off fourth-placed Man City – who also have two games in hand – so it’s highly likely United will need to win the Champions League outright to be competing in the competition again next season.
It’s a tall order to secure a two-goal turn-around, but United won all three of their home games in the group stages and boast an excellent record against Olympiakos, while the Greeks have lost all seven of their previous trips to England – conceding at least two goals on each occasion – so Moyes certainly has plenty to be positive about.
United will be without the services of defenders Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans as they continue to nurse hamstring and calf injuries respectively. Moyes must decide whether to stick with Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones at the back, or recall the experienced Rio Ferdinand for the game.
Juan Mata is cup-tied having played for Chelsea in the group stages so Antonio Valencia is expected to be recalled while Shinji Kagawa will feature at some stage, most likely off the bench. Ashley Young and Nani are both fit and pushing for recalls.
The visitors welcome back Javier Saviola and Ivan Marcano after the duo returned to training this week, but Michael Olaitan and Dimitris Siovas are both unavailable through injury.
Several players were rested at the weekend as Olympiakos strolled to the Greek title on Saturday, so Leandro Salino, Kostas Manolas and Delvin N’Dinga are expected to be recalled.
Van Persie: The Dutchman has been well below par of late and failed to make any impression against Liverpool on Sunday, and with United going in search of at least two goals tonight, Moyes will be looking for his main striker to step-up and produce the goods.
Man Utd 3-0 Olympiakos: While the Greeks are in the driving seat they are very poor away from home in Europe and although United are low on confidence, we can see them turning this around tonight at Old Trafford to give Moyes a welcome boost.
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