Galatasaray v Manchester United Preview
Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: Having already qualified for the Round of 16 as Group H winners, Manchester United will field a makeshift side on Tuesday while Galatasaray, who are level on four points with Cluj and just one above Braga, will be desperate to get something from the match to ease their own way to the knockout stages.
BREAKDOWN: Galatasaray director Abdurrahim Albayrak pleaded for calm with the club’s fans on Tuesday after more than a thousand of them turned up at Ataturk Airport with the intention of harassing the Red Devils as they got off their plane and into their motorcade.
Police were required to use tear gas as the mob became more violent, but after leaving the airport through a different terminal the United contingent escaped the worst of the demonstrations.
“In every aspect we are a top-class club,” exclaimed a dejected Albayrak after the incident. “We had to welcome our opponents warmly—not in that way. [United] hosted us with respect and our first aim is to repay their hospitality.”
A handful of United regulars missed the adventure entirely, as manager Sir Alex Ferguson opted to leave David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie back in Manchester.
The Premier League side are coming off a dismal 1-0 defeat at Norwich on Saturday while Galatasaray were beaten by mid-table Karabukspor the last time out. The current Super Lig champions, the Istanbul giants are level with Antalyaspor atop the table with 22 points from 12 rounds.
Umut Bulut leads the division in scoring with nine goals, but it has been Burak Yilmaz who has been doing the damage offensively for Galatasaray in the Champions League, scoring each of his side’s four goals to date.
ESSENTIALS: Galatasaray defender Tomas Ujfalusi remains out of the lineup with a knee problem although Johan Elmander (thigh) came on as a substitute at the weekend and will likely play some part on Tuesday.
United defender Phil Jones is expected to make his season debut and could even be handed a start in the centre of defense. Darren Fletcher and Anderson are also expected to be handed rare starting places. Nani and Nemanja Vidic are out injured.
KEY BATTLE: Bulut will operate slightly to the right of the Galatasaray attack—a position that will put him opposite United’s young left-back, Alexander Buttner. That flank will also be vital to United going forward as left-winger Ashley Young, who was abysmal against Norwich, will be looking for redemption and will find himself up against former Arsenal right-back Emmanuel Eboue.
FORMATIONS: Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim will deploy a 4-3-3 formation with Bulut, Yilmaz and Nordin Amrabat across the top. Ferguson will send out a 4-2-3-1 with Javier Hernandez up top and Danny Welbeck, Anderson and Young in support.
BETLINE: Galatasaray 1/1; Draw 13/5; Manchester United 13/5. United were 1-0 winners when these sides met in September thanks to an early goal from Michael Carrick.