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Manchester United Fixtures

Manchester United and the Champions’ League

Well I’m going to start by admitting that like most fans on this site I was extremely disappointed that we drew against Lyon as we could have had a much easier ride to the last eight. But I am delighted with the teams Arsenal and Liverpool got, which were Milan and Inter respectively.

However, when you look at the teams they could have faced, Barca, A.C, Inter, Real or Sevilla ( just Liverpool ) and Porto ( just Arsenal ) they always had a massive chance of getting a tough tie. Celtic vs. Barca is also a good tie.

Onto our own tie though, we could have had an easier team I still believe we will go through as Lyon are not the side they were a few years ago. And to be honest, the French League isn’t that great, so winning it six times in a row isn’t that much of a great achievement.

Anyway onto some key battles:

Benzema/Fred vs. Vida/Rio:

Lyon are a team who like to play with just the one forward. Though his Lyon career has been hampered by injury, Fred was their man. However, a new man has appeared and has battled for the lone striker place. Karim Benzema is one of the best up and coming players in football and has challenged for Fred’s place in the team. Fred has not taken this well and there are reports that he is unsettled at the club. So by the time the fixture comes around Fred could be long gone.

I don’t expect Lyon to really threaten with a lone striker. After all, how many strikers can take on both Vidic and Ferdinand all by themselves?

Juninho vs. Hargreaves:

Juninho is easily the most talented of all Lyon’s players and will probably cause United the most trouble. He is an attacking midfielder as well as a playmaker; he could be compared to Kaka. However, with Hargreaves in the team I think he will be able to shut him down. This will be a good battle to watch on the night and it could go either way. However I think that with Owen in the team, as apposed to Carrick, he will be able to do the job and stop Juninho doing what he does best.

Coupet vs. Rooney:

Lyon haven’t got the tightest of defences needing at least one decent centre back. However, I expect one to come in during the transfer window. Coupet is a very good keeper but is currently out injured with ligament damage and it will be close if he is to make it for the first leg. But even if it does, I wouldn’t put money on him keeping a clean sheet with the attacking potential of Manchester United. Rooney is on hot form, when he is not injured, so I expect him to score.

These teams have met before, but just once, with United winning.

My prediction:

United to win both legs quite comfortably. 3-0 on aggregate.

On other British teams I would expect Chelsea also to sail through, while Arsenal and Celtic could be knocked out. The Liverpool vs. Inter would be pretty close with Inter to just edge it, though.

RR: I know it’s a little early talking about the Champions’ League. But it would be interesting to know your views on the draw etc. Since Ollie posted this, I thought I could put this up as a discussion topic for a change.

So what do you reckon? How do you think the CL will play out for us and the other British clubs?