One of the most anticipated fixtures of the new Champions League season sees 2008 winners Manchester United take on Rangers at the Theatre of Dreams tomorrow night. United are still trying to find their winning formula as is evident by their inconsistent approach to the Premier League season and this should provide for a mouth watering match against a Scottish side who have won all their matches this season.
With Carrick out and Rooney a doubt for the fixture, Sir Alex Ferguson will want to ensure his side have all the fire power needed to bag all 3 points on offer. Probable replacements depending on Man United’s approach to the game could be Antonio Valencia and Darren Fletcher.
Rangers on the other hand are the defending Scottish champions and buoyed by their impressive start to the SPL, they have the momentum to cause one of the biggest surprises on match day 1. With a full strength squad to boot including key players Kenny Miller and Mahjid Bougherra, Rangers cannot be underestimated.
That said, United were quarter finalists last season while Rangers failed to make it past the Group Stages. This is one positive United can build on. Moreover, Rangers lost their impressive goal banging striker Kevin Boyd in the summer.
Surrendering a 2 goal lead to draw 3 all with Everton, United cannot afford to take any chances Tuesday. Again, over relying on their aging stars Giggs and Scholes to bail them out would not be a good choice.
Walter Smith will line his side in a 4-5-1 formation with the intention of packing the midfield to frustrate and deny United the attacking style of play they are normally used to.
Probable line ups:
Manchester United: Van der Sar; O’Shea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Fletcher; Scholes, Nani; Rooney, Berbatov.
Rangers: McGregor; Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac; Whittaker, Naismith, Davis, Edu, Lafferty; Miller.
Nobody expects Rangers to finish the group ahead of United and Valencia however, this is football and anything is possible.
A2-0 win in favour of United.
Photo credit: from Quang.Leminh