Man Utd vs. Villarreal
The Anchor Man previews Wednesday's Champions League clash.
Chelsea and Liverpool both started their European campaigns with wins on Tuesday and tonight it’s the turn of the holders as Manchester United welcome Villarreal to the Theatre of Dreams.
United will, however, begin their trophy defence on the back of an awful performance against Liverpool at the weekend. Rarely does Sir Alex Ferguson openly criticise his side in public but his berating was fully justified as, in the Scots words, United "defended like a conference side” to gift Liverpool victory. You can be sure he will be expecting a positive reaction this evening.
That effort at Anfield has also led to Ferguson playing his trump card in announcing the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. The news that last season’s top scorer is back, although only on the bench, will send a huge buzz around Old Trafford and install some much needed confidence into the rest of the squad.
United have certainly missed the winger’s brilliance so far this season, they were held by Newcastle and just scrapped past Portsmouth before Saturday’s lacklustre effort, and it will be a welcome sight for their fans to see the Portuguese star in a red shirt again after a summer of intense transfer speculation.
However, it would be dangerous for United to underestimate their Spanish opponents this evening. It was only three years ago that Villarreal held United to two goalless draws to eliminate Ferguson’s side at the group stage en route to the semi-finals. They achieved their best ever league placing last season, finishing second behind Real Madrid, and have started this year in good style too.
The absence of Nihat and former United forward Giuseppe Rossi will leave Villarreal lacking a real goal threat but their resolute style has made them difficult to break down under Manuel Pellegrini with Marcos Senna the heartbeat of the side. He was instrumental in Spain’s success at the European Championships and will be looking to show Sir Alex exactly what he missed out on after nearly joining United two seasons ago.
This looks a very tough opener for Manchester United as they look to become the first side in nineteen years to retain the trophy and the 1.6 on them doing so looks on the short side. Villarreal are an accomplished side at this level and know how to stifle teams. Given United have looked very short on attacking ideas so far this season it is difficult to see there be many goals and therefore I will be investing my hard earned cash on the unders.
Under 2.5 Goals WON @ 1.76
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