Manchester United go into their first Champions League match of the new campaign tonight against Benfica in Portugal on top of the world and indeed on top of the Premier League right now with a 100% record of four wins in four games, scoring an incredible 18 goals (more than 4 a game on average) and conceding just 3 at their end. All departments seem to be playing to their full potential and we are scarily still only weeks into the season and their attacking trio of Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney and Javi Hernandez are frightening to even the most experienced of Premier League defenders. But with a game at Old Trafford against Chelsea on Sunday coming up, will Sir. Alex Ferguson be tempted to rest a few tonight away to Benfica?
Rio Ferdinand has not travelled to Portugal for the game as he has only just recovered from injury last weekend which means with Vidic still out it’ll be Jonny Evans and Phil Jones at the back to continue their extremely impressive form this season. They certainly haven’t played like second choice pickings and when Ferdinand/Vidic do slow down their first team appearances (which won’t be this year as they are still first choice) – Utd’s future seems to be in good hands.
Tom Cleverley, Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda who might have been hoping for game time miss out, though Michael Owen is in the squad and will be hoping he can feature at some stage. With it being the first Champions League game of the season I don’t expect too many experienced players to be rested for the away fixture to Benfica and there’s certainly a case to be made that Michael Carrick, Dimitar Berbatov, Park ji-Sung and Ryan Giggs’ years of playing in the competition should warrant a start.
Man Utd (from): De Gea, Lindegaard; Evans, Evra, Fabio, Jones, Smalling; Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani, Park, Valencia, Young; Berbatov, Hernandez, Owen, Rooney.
Prediction: Benfica 0 – 2 Man Utd – The Red Devils are on such a high right now I can’t see them doing anything but bulldozing their opponents tonight with their passing and movement and certainly if Rooney, Young & Hernandez play (or even Berbatov) then I may be being a bit reserved with the 2 goal prediction.
Benfica vs. Manchester United in the Champions League kicks off at 7.45pm on ITV 1 tonight.
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