Manchester United will initiate their new campaign in the Champions League, against Basel in the first match of Champions League group stage at Old Trafford on Tuesday. United will be back in UEFA Champions League action after one year as they had missed the previous season due to not finishing in the top four in the Premier League in 2015-16 season. Their failure to accomplish a top four finish in the Premier League last season also but they had won the Europa League last season and had earned direct qualification berth in the Champions League.
Manchester United are placed in Group A with Basel, CSKA Moscow and Benfica. The group is apparently looking easy for United to qualify for the round of 16 and the other three teams will have to fight for the second place to qualify for the next round.
United are currently placed at the top of the table of Premier League with 3 wins and 1 draw in their 4 matches. In the last match they had drawn against Stoke City which will slightly harm their confidence level as they were on a high after winning 3 consecutive matches at the beginning of the season. United will be eager to win this match against Basel and seal a solid start of the season.
Basel had won Swiss Super League previous season and came into the UEFA Champions League. In 2011 they had knocked out Manchester United when they had won with a 2-1 margin in Switzerland following a draw with them 3-3 in Old Trafford.
This season Basel are not in a very good form. They still had not managed to win any of the matches in Swiss Super League yet. Also they had lost the previous league match against a lesser known side Lausanne at home.
Basel are always a tricky opposition to face in the Champions League as they are not new in this competition and they had always offered some challenges to the big guns of Europe.
Team News :
Manchester United :
Two of United’s central defenders Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are suspended for this match. So Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling will start as central defenders for United on Tuesday.
Blind also may come back in the team in the place of Darmian in the position of left back who had played against Stoke City last match.
Mourinho sounded very much tactical in the pre-match press conference as he had stated that he would also start Lindelof and Smalling in the starting XI if also Bailly and Jones were not suspended.
Fellaini will probably not feature in this match as he had received an ankle injury during the International break. About Fellaini, Jose told that he would feel weaker if Fellaini not being able to make the squad against Basel.
Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also miss the match against Basel on Tuesday due to injuries.
The striker of Basel Wolfswinkel will be the main hope for them to lead from the upfront while it will be a tough test for Suchy, Akanji, Riveros and Lang to stop the ruthless attacking threat of Manchester United consisting of Mkhitaryan, Mata, Pogba, Martial and Lukaku.
Predicted Manchester United Starting Eleven: (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper : De Gea
Defenders : Valencia, Lindeof, Smalling, Blind.
Midfielders : Matic, Pogba, Mata , Mkhitaryan.
Attackers : Martial, Lukaku.
Predicted Basel Starting Eleven :(4-5-1)
Goalkeeper : Vaclik
Defenders : Riveros, Akanji, Suchy, Lang.
Midfielders : Zuffi, Bua, Xhaka, Steffen, Elyounoussi.
Attackers : Wolfswinkel
Predicted Scoreline :
Manchester United 3-1 Basel