Bolstered by injuries to key personnel at Manchester United and their lacklustre away form, Marseille will be going all-out to beat the Red Devils in the first leg. The game is United’s first of four straight away matches, and they need to start winning these games if they are to succeed in Europe / win the league title this season.
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Manchester United are missing Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Jonny Evans, Anderson and Michael Owen, with both Da Silva twins also carrying knocks. Chris Smalling is set to partner Nemanja Vidic at the heart of defence and will be hoping to build on his impressive display in the Manchester derby.
Marseille are missing Andre-Pierre Gignac, although Loic Remy and Brandao are likely to play a part.
The big stories around building up to this tie have been Deschamps comments about Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as United facing their former full-back Heinze. Heinze’s recent comments as well as Evra’s positive comments about the Argentine are in stark contrast to Andy Mitten’s views, so you can safely ignore it as all PR-speak.
The big question for United fans will be whether they will finally see Berbatov start an important Champions League game, and whether players like Carrick and Rooney can improve upon their below-par seasons and deliver quality performances. As for Marseille, as they’ve rightly said all along, they’re the underdogs going into this game but they’ll also be confident that they can win the home leg and have nothing to lose by going on the attack.
United don’t need to win this – a 1-1 draw like they secured against Lyon a couple of seasons ago would suit them just fine.
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