By Ollie Cranham-Young
- United lost first game in the group 2-1 away to PSV
- Wolfsburg beat CSKA Moscow 1-0
- Carrick, Valencia and Herrera all doubtful after missing training today
Venue: Old Trafford Date and Kick-Off: Wednesday 30 September 7:45pm
Following Saturday’s successful encounter with Sunderland that put United top of the league, we now turn our attention back to the Champions League after a disappointing, yet frustrating game against PSV Eindhoven three weeks ago.
United will be looking to properly kick-start their European campaign after failing to clinch a single point on an eventful night in Eindhoven which saw the devastating injury to Luke Shaw not that long ago. Three points against Wolfsburg would get United out of the bottom half of the group. If PSV slip up against CSKA Moscow and United win, all four teams will be on three points.
United have had a fantastic league run with three successive victories since the defeat on the South Wales coast. Which has seen United shoot up to the top of the table after Man City suffered back to back defeats to West Ham and Tottenham respectively.
However, Europe doesn’t make good reading for United, they are currently 3rd in the group, only because they have a marginally better goal difference than CSKA who currently sit bottom of the group, however we have only played one round of the six fixtures so there is plenty of time for things to change.
Nevertheless, United must win tomorrow night to announce it the rest of Europe that they mean business. As for Wolfsburg, we couldn’t have picked a tougher team from Pot 4. They overcame CSKA by one goal to nil in Germany the same day we played PSV, and United will have to be on top form to achieve the three points.
Ironically, the last time we played a competitive Champions League match, it was against another German side, none other than Bayern Munich, whilst a certain Bastian Schweinsteiger was on the opposing team and Wolfsburg will be looking to keep Germany’s reputation of a high footballing standard up, when they make the visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
United are of course without long-term absentee Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo looks set to be missing again after picking up an injury against Southampton. He has missed the last two games against Ipswich and Sunderland. Meanwhile Carrick, Herrera and Valencia all missed training today and look set to sit out Wednesday nights tie.
Van Gaal confirmed at his pre-match press conference that Carrick, Herrera and Valencia all have minor knocks and probably won’t be risked. Van Gaal has confidence that his squad can cope, as we saw when Rooney picked up a slight hamstring strain; he wasn’t risked.
United will not have to worry about Kevin De Bruyne until late October after his deadline day transfer to our City rivals Manchester City, however they still have André Schürrle and Nicklas Bendtner who will both make it tough for United on Wednesday night.
Both players possess pace and make it very tough for defenders, yet their top scorer this season is neither of these players. The player who holds that certain accolade is a man named Bas Dost, who is a Dutch footballer who Louis Van Gaal will know a lot about come Wednesday evening.
Louis Van Gaal will be looking to take United all the way to the final like he did with Ajax back in 1995, and he insists that football has changed drastically since he took Ajax to the final all those years ago. He claims it is much harder to achieve the elite prize, with much more stronger teams in the competition, and no one should be underestimated according to him.
He has also recently said that he believes all four English teams can qualify to the knockout stages, but we will just have to wait until December to see if his prediction was accurate. He will come up against German rival Dieter Hecking on Wednesday night, who has yet to win a trophy Wolfsburg, but he is hoping he can change that this year, after highly strengthening the squad in the summer