After what was a highly eventful October, Manchester United start November with what should prove to be one of their easier wins of the season. However, if there’s something to take from the last time United had a home European match, or even the last time United faced tonight’s opposition, it’s to not underestimate any opponent or the effort that they’ll put in.
One can only hope that Fergie sends the troops out there tonight against Otelul Galati with that in mind, so that easy win that’s rightly expected – and perhaps needed – is indeed delivered.
When these two faced off in Romania two weeks ago, United did pick up the three points, but it took far longer to get the break through, even with a lineup that featured Wayne Rooney, Chicharito, and Nani.
But thanks to Rooney coolly slotting home two second-half penalties, United came away with the spoils in a 2-0 win. Both sides finished with 10 men, as Nemanja Vidic saw straight red in the 66th minute in his United return, and defender Milan Perendija was sent off in the 89th minute after receiving his second yellow.
After winning their first league title last season, Otelul Galati have struggled for form this season. However, they come into tonight’s match in good form, perhaps having gained some confidence from their respectable showing against United.
Since their defeat to United, Otelul Galati have won their last two league matches and a round of 16 tie in the Romanian Cup. Still, they only sit 8th in the 18-team league, with 5-3-4 mark giving them 18 points from 12 matches.
In Europe, they haven’t made it easy on any opponent they’ve faced, but they’ve come away empty-handed in each match and therefore sit bottom of Group C.
While they’ve been solid defensively, scoring has been an issue, as they’ve scored only 11 league goals and have netted only once in the Champions League, in their 2-1 defeat away to FC Basel in their opener. However, it must be said that they did create a fair amount of opportunities against United two weeks ago, so expecting them to come in and park the bus might be unwise.
The injury bug continues to affect the options Fergie has to choose from, and that list of options is further affected tonight with Vidic out due to suspension.
However, injury and suspension only serve to create opportunity for others to step up, so look for a strong performance tonight from Rio Ferdinand, who should start after being an unused sub in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Everton. With Fergie openly stating that Rio’s no longer the automatic selection he once was, you’d have to think that would serve as motivation for a top-notch performance, especially considering what happened the last time we saw Rio on the pitch.
Along with Vidic being unavailable, we have to wait another few weeks to see Tom Cleverley make his Champions League debut, due to the little ankle knock he suffered against Everton. Ashley Young is still out, and so are Chris Smalling and Ryan Giggs.
Still, there’s more than enough left for Fergie to send out a strong side that has a blend of steady experience and youthful energy.
Against Basel, United came out with an intent to score, score, score, and it paid off with two early goals. Unfortunately, they took their foot off the gas and were ultimately fortunate to not have it prove more costly than it did.
With plenty of time to rest since last Saturday’s early kickoff at Everton, Sunderland coming to Old Trafford on Saturday, and an extended international break coming up, Fergie shouldn’t shy away from putting a strong lineup out there tonight, with the instructions to dominate from start to finish.
Score Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Otelul Galati
- Jadon Sancho reunion would be appealing for Borussia Dortmund but there are reservations
- Manchester United to assess fitness of three players ahead of their Premier League clash with Crystal Palace
- Daley Blind sends warning to Man Utd midfielder Donny van de Beek
- Man United plan contract talks for rising star Hannibal Mejbri
- Sofyan Amrabat only wanted Man Utd this summer, eyes permanent stay
- Roy Keane sends message to Jadon Sancho after Man Utd exile
- Manchester United’s under-21s suffer 8-1 thrashing against Bolton Wanderers
- Man Utd have fresh solution at left-back with Sofyan Amrabat
- Alejandro Garnacho reacts to Hannibal Mejbri’s performance against Crystal Palace
- Casemiro delivers masterclass performance against Crystal Palace in Carabao Cup