Man Utd will host Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night, in what has turned into an absolutely critical game for manager David Moyes.
So often an impenetrable fortress, Old Trafford has of late been a place of wretched agony for the Man Utd faithful; with both Everton and Newcastle registering hard fought 1-0 wins over the last week. While the second consecutive home loss on Saturday was deeply unsettling, another loss at the hands of Shakhtar would be almost unbearable for Moyes and his men.
Yet a win or a draw will send Utd through to the last 16 as group winners, which would be a perfect, albeit temporary remedy to the dejection currently festering around the club.
Here is the latest Man Utd team news:
Defence: Moyes is sweating over injuries to Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling at the back; with the defensive trio all missing training on Monday. This could mean a reshuffle at the back, with perhaps a return for Rio Ferdinand in the heart of defence. Alex Buttner is also ready to step in.
Midfield: While struggling a little at he back, the United manager has Shinji Kagawa available for the tie, with the Japanese international having returned to training on Monday.
However, Marouane Fellaini was missing from training that day, and doesn’t look likely to feature.
Forwards: Robin Van Persie came through the full 90 minutes in the defeat to Newcastle on Saturday, but may be used cautiously midweek. The return of Wayne Rooney from suspension will make it easier for Moyes to protect his Dutch hit-man.
Man Utd Champions League Form: WDWDW
Prediction: 1-0 – A pivotal victory for United; and a partial weight to be lifted off of their beleaguered manager’s shoulders.