Match Preview: CFR Cluj vs. Manchester United
By Mark Young
Matchday two of the UEFA Champions League 2012/13 kicks off on Tuesday night with the Red Devils taking centre stage off the back of a difficult weekend for Sir Alex Ferguson and company.
Manchester United travel to Romania to face CFR Cluj who are based in Transylvania. But out of the two it is likely that United are going to get their teeth stuck in on Tuesday night. United were guilty of complacency in last season’s Champions League campaign, so they will need to tread carefully, take seriously and be fully focused on Tuesday and not have a wandering eye on Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.
The squad travelled on Monday without Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Antonio Valencia and the Galatasaray match winner, Michael Carrick. David de Gea should be recalled in goal after his clean sheet against the Turkish club last time out, Rio Ferdinand may be rested which would leave Michael Keane or Scott Wootton at centre back with Johnny Evans. Patrice Evra is another one that could potentially have a rest with Alex Buttner coming in at left back.
The midfield could include Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Tom Cleverley with Scholes and Carrick at home with the attackers looking likely to include a selection of van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck, Nani and Kagawa.
Fire power, fine, stability at the back, not so good.
Michael Carrick got United off to a superb start against Galatasaray a fortnight ago but will count themselves lucky to walk away with three points. The Turkish side hit the wood work and were close a number of times but United escaped. They will have to be careful this week, as the little known club from Dracula country could well draw blood from the Red Devils from Manchester.
Europa League finalists of a couple of years ago Braga were caught in the Cluj headlights two weeks ago when the Romanians beat them 2-0 leading them to the top of the Group H table.
It is too early to say that this is a group defining clash by any means, but a first away win of the Champions League campaign will be a huge boost for United after a tricky start to the Premier League season.
United should win comfortably as they go to Transylvania hoping to avoid what could be a nightmare if Saturday’s first half against Tottenham is repeated.
Possible United XI (4-5-1/4-3-3): de Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverley; Rooney, Nani, van Persie.
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