Manchester Utd come into their Champions League pool game against Benfica tomorrow night, kick off 7.45pm, knowing that a win against the Portuguese outfit will see them through to the knock-out stages of the competition.
Having recorded a fifth straight win and clean sheet against Swansea at the weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be fully confident that they can get the job done against Benfica in front of a packed Old Trafford faithful.
Utd will be without Tom Cleverley (ankle) and Michael Owen (hamstring) both of whom are out until Christmas. Captain Nemanja Vidic is suspended following his straight red card against Otelul Galati in Bucharest. Danny Welbeck , Chris Smalling and Ashley Young are all in contention,along with Wayne Rooney, who despite missing training on Monday, is expected to take his place at the front of the Utd attack.
Speaking ahead of the game, Utd midfielder Darren Fletcher says Utd have only one focus tomorrow night, to win the game. He said “You do want to finish top. First and foremost, you look to qualify for the knockout stages. But you want to finish top, for the last-16 draw and for other perks like playing the second leg at home.”
Standing in their way though is a determined Benfica side who won’t have any fear of coming to Old Trafford and getting a result. Their situation is identical to Utd’s. Should they win tomorrow night then they secure a safe passage to the knockout stages.
Nicolas Gaitán is a powerful weapon in Benfica’s attacking arsenal and is definitely one of the players that Man Utd will have to keep an eye on. The Argentine was a standout performer against United inSeptember and will no doubt be looking to cause Utd more torment as both sides battle it out to get through to the next round.
Predication: While Benfica will prove a tough challenge for Man Utd. The English side are given a confident selection to win tomorrow night and keep their European dream alive for another few months. Given that the Utd defence has been solid of late I fancy Utd to win 3-0 tomorrow night. A 3-0 scoreline is currently trading at 13 on Betfair and is worth an investment.