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Lyon v Man Utd: Preview

Finally, some much needed Champions’ League action as United take on Lyon in the round of 16, first leg. It would be worth noting that Ryan Giggs, if selected, would make his 100th Champions’ League appearance — which would be quite an achievement.

Sir Alex has been in good spirits in France — he loves the country and you would too if you were a wine lover. However, he still isn’t the least bit impressed about Gallas’ let off for a blatant kick on Nani in the FA Cup.

Lyon manager, Alain Perrin, of Portsmouth fame — or should we say, infamy? — thinks United’s style would suit his side and he feels fairly confident of causing some problems. We’ll have to wait and see. To me, it’s really surprising he was appointed as Lyon’s coach, given his disastrous spell at Portsmouth–they were saved that season thanks to Harry Redknapp’s great escape–but apparently he is held in high regard in France. Which is again odd considering the stuttering season Lyon are having at the moment. There’s an article in the Telegraph that elaborates a little more on the ‘fall and rise of Perrin’.

Moving to the squad, there is no telling how Fergie plans to play this out today. The only thing certain is our back four. If he opts for a 4-3-3, which is highly likely given it is an away tie in the Champions’ League, he could opt to play Hargreaves, Scholes and Anderson in the middle. Hargreaves, because European experience was foremost in SAF’s mind when he bought him. Scholes, because, well, he is Scholes and Fergie didn’t start him against Arsenal. And Anderson, because he provides penetration, as Scholes can look to sit back along with Hargreaves. It must be said, at this point, that Scholes hasn’t looked to move forward and force the issue that often these days and, hence, Anderson’s presence in midfield would look to provide just that. Ronaldo, Rooney, and Giggs/Tevez could form a front three.

However, if he goes with a 4-4-2, I wouldn’t really be able to say what XI he would pick.

It could be tempting to play Nani instead of Giggs in the left wing, on the back of his performance against Arsenal, but I believe SAF would plump for Giggsy’s experience, despite his start-stop season. Nonetheless, the first XI, ever since we had four fully-fit midfielders to choose from, will always make for a good debate.

I think, if United get over their nerves–which usually dogs them in the away games of the Champions’ League knockout rounds–can easily beat Lyon, or atleast score a couple of goals. Surely, a defence with Jean Alain Boumsong at the centre can’t be that good?

Prediction: 2-1 to United.

Note: As I mentioned, in passing, yesterday, I will be at work and I won’t be able to watch the match today. So I will keep my eyes open for updates on some of those news sites, as well as the match reports of readers who post comments on here. I would put up a selection of match reports tomorrow from the comments section, so you know you have an incentive to post your insightful analysis–like many of you’ve done in the past.

Come on you reds!!!