The last thing anyone wanted to see after a loss to Crystal Palace on the weekend was the return of Wilfried Zaha to Old Trafford. However, with the Ivorian International making the move to Galatasaray in the summer the Reds must be vigilant to avoid more heartbreak from anything Eagles related.
Champions League nights return to Old Trafford as Erik ten Hag’s men welcome Turkish Champions Galatasaray.
Competition: Champions League
Venue: Old Trafford
Kick Off: 20:00 UK Time
TV Channel: TNT Sports
How do Manchester United look?Embed from Getty Images
On the pitch, things do not seem to be getting any better for United. After seemingly promising victories vs Burnley and Crystal Palace in the League Cup, the smoke screen of a false dawn was dispersed as the Palace returned to Old Trafford in the Premier League and took all of the spoils. United’s 1-0 defeat against Palace means that the Reds have recorded their worst start to a league season for 34 years.
United’s start to the Champions League campaign wasn’t necessarily any better, as the Reds lost 4-3 in a game where the scoreline flattered to deceive. The Reds were dominated in many areas despite a promising start.
With United’s injuries stacking up, it’s hard to fathom any impending upturn in form. This week, Lisandro Martinez joined the extended injury list after he under went surgery on a recurring metatarsal injury. Sergio Reguilon remains sidelined but his return is considered to be imminent despite the left-back not featuring in United’s training sessions for the Galatasaray fixture. At current, United will still be without the likes of Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Tom Heaton, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Amad and Jadon Sancho.
There are some positives though as Antony and Kobbie Mainoo both returned to training meaning in Antony’s case at least, he is back ion contention. It will remain to be seen whether Mainoo will be risked after coming back from injury.
Opposition: GalatasarayEmbed from Getty Images
It does come as some saving grace that the hellish climate of Galatasaray’s RAMS Park isn’t the backdrop of this fixture. Instead United still have time to find their form before the Reds’ trip to Isntanbul. However, that doesn’t mean that the visit from Galatasaray will be without any tests. Galatasaray make the Trip to Old Trafford without a loss in their previous 20 games. If not for Fenerbahce and ex-United midfielder’s 100% record in Turkey, they would be sitting top of the league.
Galatasaray’s form, along with the likes of Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens, and Zaha means it should be a difficult night for United. Zaha was on the scoresheet in Gala’s win against Ankaragucu in their previous outing. On the injury front, the visitors will be without Hakim Ziyech but Tanguy Ndombele is expected to be available.
Key StatsEmbed from Getty Images
United have never lost at home to Galatasaray in three previous meetings, drawing 3-3 in October 1993 in Champions League qualifying, winning 4-0 in December 1994 and 1-0 in September 2012 in the competition’s group stages.
Galatasaray have won just one of their six previous meetings with United (D3 L2), though it was their most recent meeting in November 2012 (1-0).
United have lost six of their past 13 Champions League matches at Old Trafford (W5 D2), as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 80 home games in the competition (W57 D17).
Among Manchester United players who have played 10 or more times at Old Trafford in the Champions League, only Ruud van Nistelrooy (87) has a better minutes-per-goal ratio than Marcus Rashford (112).
United’s Bruno Fernandes has assisted a goal in seven of his past eight Champions League appearances, and has as many assists in the competition as his team-mates combined in 2012-22 and this season.
This fixture is one that United must win if they hope to achieve anything significant in this group and beyond. However, recent form dictates that despite United being at home, they are the slight underdogs against Galatasaray. Saying that, nothing says ‘our season starts here’ like an emphatic victory under the lights at Old Trafford.
Manchester United 3-1 Galatasaray