The last year shock exit of Manchester United in the group stage of the Champions league might have given Sir Alex Ferguson many sleepless nights as to no one had ever expected this to happen. For a team which had made 3 finalist appearances in past 4 Champions league finals having won 1 of them, it was hard to believe how they could not manage to go through the group which had teams like Otelul Galati, Basel and Benfica.
Manchester United have had a good start to the season winning their last 3 matches after a bad first day at Everton and the horrible thigh injury to Wayne Rooney last month against Fulham. All the new signings have proved to be good and have not taken long to get their names on the scoresheet.
Sir Alex has stated that he won't make the same mistake again of experimenting the younger players in the group stages of the Champions league since it backfired last season. The Red Devils will look to forget the memories of last year and need to make a strong statement this year starting with a win against the Turkish side Galastaray in their first match of the new Champions league season .
But with the Liverpool - United derby coming next weekend which is one of the most important matches of the season for United in terms of the rivalry between the 2 teams followed by league cup match against Newcastle, it looks hard to believe that Sir Alex will play his best side tomorrow so as to avoid any chance of an injury to the star players.
Robin Van Persie played just 22 minutes and Shinji Kagawa was rested against Wigan to avoid any chances of them proliferating their injury further and it looks to be more or less the same for tomorrow's match against Galastaray. The charm that the United 11 displayed against the Wigan side would be enough to prevail over the Turkish side at Old Trafford. But since Wayne Rooney will most probably be available next week against Liverpool, Sir Alex can think of starting with Van Persie to give him a boost, in place of Welbeck who was not so impressive against Wigan. It is also important to give Degea a chance to start tomorrow after being on the bench for the past 2 weeks. So with Chicharito and Van Persie the 2 front runners and the experience of Scholes and Carrick who'll play just behind them, it might not be easy for United against the strong turks but still they should have 3 points in the bag at the end of the match. Not to forget, Powell must also be given an ample time to play in this fixture after his terrific performance against Wigan and this will definitely give him more confidence as he marches ahead to fill in the shoes of Paul Scholes.
Looking at the other side of the coin, we must not underestimate Galastaray as they are the Turkish champions and have had an excellent start to their campaign winning all the four matches till now with the last one being a 4-0 win against Antalyaspor this past weekend. They have some good key players who can penetrate the not so impressive United defence and seal some goals at Old Trafford which might change the game altogether.
The Red Devils are desperate to start their Champions league campaign with a win but they must not forget that they have a much tougher task next weekend in the Anfield derby because howsoever Liverpool is playing presently, its game totally changes when it playes against Manchester United.
So my starting 11 for the United against Galastaray stands as below :
Formation : 4-4-2
DeGea, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Chicharito and Van Persie.
Substitutes : Danny Welbeck, Nick Powell, Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner