It has been almost 20 years since the infamous ‘Welcome to hell’ banner greeted our team upon arrival in Turkey ahead of our Champions League tie with Galatasaray. Tonight, for the first time since, we face the Turkish champions at Old Trafford as the group stage kicks off.
Sir Alex will probably have one eye on Sunday as we prepare to face Liverpool at Anfield, however I hope that he learns from his mistakes last season, as we seemingly underestimated our opponents and deservedly crashed out at the group stage.
United go into the game on the back of an comfortable 4-0 win at home to Wigan. Sir Alex chose to rest some key names including Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa. Defensively, you’d fancy Sir Alex to rest Rio Ferdinand and bring in Jonny Evans in his place, you’d also expect to see a starting spot for Patrice Evra at left-back. I also expect Fergie to recall Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa to the midfield after they were also rested in the win vs. Wigan at the weekend. Robin van Persie will probably start up front on his own, with Welbeck coming in and offering support from the left.
There has been rumours doing the rounds that Wayne Rooney returned to training this morning, however I think this game will come to early for him, he may get 10 minutes from off the bench if United are in a comfortable position. Galatasaray are no pushovers, they are the Turkish champions for a reason, if we don’t play to our potential then we could be in for a tough night.
Predicted starting XI
De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Welbeck, Cleverley, Anderson, Valencia; Kagawa; Van Persie
Being the home side, United are comfortable favourites at odds of 2/7, the draw is available at 9/2 and if you fancy an away win you can get odds of 9/1. Robin van Persie is the favourite to score first and you can get odds of 5/2 for the Dutchman to do so. Ex-Bolton man Johan Elmander is 11/1 to score first for Galatasaray if you fancy an upset. I fancy a 3-1 win for United, and you can get 40/1 for this scoreline via SkyBet