Manchester United have a must-win clash to come in the Champions League against Wolfsburg on Tuesday night, but recent form suggests the Red Devils could be making a premature departure in the competition. United will qualify for the knockouts with victory over the Wolves, but wins at the Volkswagen Arena haven’t come easy for travelling sides, and even the bookmakers are tipping the German Bundesliga giants to get the better of Louis van Gaal’s men.
How Manchester United could be eliminated
This would mean PSV Eindhoven have a chance to take second place in the group if they can win against whipping boys CSKA Moscow, and given the likelihood of such an occurrence, United can’t entertain anything short of all three points against Wolfsburg otherwise they will be dropping into the Europa League. With the Red Devils having dropped points in five of their last eight Premier League games, while winning only twice in five Champions League group games, they’re hardly in the best shape to end Wolfsburg’s unbeaten home record in Europe.
Van Gaal’s side are having a hard enough time finding the back of the net, suffering five shutouts in the last two months alone, and United’s away form has been a real disappointment. They haven’t won on the road in the group so far, and have failed to win two of their last three away games in their domestic league too,so it’s difficult to see how they can pick up a result on Tuesday. Once saving grace may well be Wolfsburg’s recent mini-slump in the Bundesliga, with the Germans having won just once in their last four, suffering a home defeat for their troubles.
Everything conspiring against Van Gaal
Nevertheless, Manchester United’s plight seems somewhat worse than Wolfsburg’s, with the Germans having won three consecutive league games at the Volkswagen Arena prior to Saturday’s defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Manchester United, on the other hand, have won just four of their last 12 games in all competitions, so they may not pose much of a threat to the Wolves in truth, especially with their growing injury crisis.
In addition to Wayne Rooney (ankle) missing such an important clash, Morgan Schneiderlin (hip), Marcos Rojo (shoulder), Phil Jones (ankle), Ander Herrera (hamstring), Antonio Valencia (foot) and Luke Shaw (leg) are the other absentees, leaving Van Gaal with little in the way of depth. Coupled with a growing negativity in the camp, as well as uncertainty of the manager’s future past the summer, Wolfsburg could take advantage with a win on home soil to put United’s European hopes in jeopardy.