United Face Tough Test Without Key Men
After enduring a frustrating goalless draw at home to Rangers in their opening Champions League fixture, Manchester United face a tricky task away at in-form Valencia as they aim to pick up their first European win of the season.
The Red Devils have been far from convincing so far this season, drawing all three of their Premier League away games, and come into Wednesday’s fixture on the back of a 2-2 stalemate with Bolton Wanderers, a game in which they had to come from behind twice to salvage a point.
That was not the only setback for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at the Reebok Stadium with both Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs picking up knocks which will rule them out of the trip to the Mestalla.
With broken leg victim Antonio Valencia also out, Sir Alex Ferguson has selection dilemmas ahead of Wednesday’s clash and his usually reliable defence may also be giving him headaches, having conceded nine goals in four away games this season.
Setting The Pace In Spain
Valencia, meanwhile, will be looking forward to the visit of the English side and will be full of confidence after taking 13 points from their opening five games of the season to top the Primera Division ahead of both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Unai Emery’s side have so far made light of their summer exodus which saw the likes of David Villa, David Silva, Carlos Marchena, Alexis and Nikola Zigic all leave for pastures new.
Yet Valencia still possess a strong squad with Juan Mata, Joaquin, Pablo Hernandez, Ever Banega and David Albeda on the books and new signings Roberto Soldado, Tino Cost, Mehmet Topal and Artiz Aduriz.
Indeed Los Che have already picked up three points in the Champions League with an opening day 4-0 victory over Turkish champions Bursapor and another victory will put them in pole position in the group and favourites to qualify for the next knock out stages.
Juan Mata is an injury doubt after missing training with an ankle knock but should be fit to play. Alejandro Dominguez was substituted at the weekend due to a hip injury but is also expected to make the squad.
[COLOR="orange"]Possible starting XI[/COLOR]: Cesar Sanchez; Miguel, Navarro, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu; Albeda, Banega; Joaquín, Mata, Hernandez; Aduriz.
Rooney and Giggs miss the trip to Spain but Rio Ferdinand may return and could replace Jonny Evans at the back. Up front, in-form Michael Owen is pushing for a first team spot after three goals in his last two appearances.
[COLOR="red"]Possible starting XI[/COLOR]: Van der Sar; O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Gibson, Fletcher, Scholes, Park; Berbatov.[/center