19th November 2012
Galatasaray can make a giants step towards the knockout stages with three points from this match, so the hosts must be happy that their opponents have already secured the first place in the standings. It is for that reason that Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to rest his star players in Istanbul, which would make Galatasaray hot favourites for the win.
The Turkish giants have done really well to reinforce the squad over the summer, with the likes of Hamit Altintop, Cris, Nordin Amrabat and Burak Yilmaz all arriving at Ali Sami Yen. As a result, the team enjoyed a good start to the league championship, climbing to the Super Lig summit, but their Champions League campaign didn’t really kick off as planned. Galatasaray produced a very good performance in their opening game against Manchester United, but couldn’t escape defeat at Old Trafford, while home defeat to Sporting Braga was seen as a major setback. Fatih Terim’s side then successfully returned into contention for the second place in the group by taking four points off CFR Cluj and they now have an excellent opportunity to improve their qualifying chances with a win against what should be United’s second string line-up. With full-back Sabri Sarioglu the only injury doubt, Fatih Terim can field his strongest starting 11.
After his side crashed out from Champions League group stage last term, Sir Alex Ferguson was determined not to let that happen again, with United securing not only their progress but also the first place in the group with two more rounds to go. The Red Devils have been far from impressive in the process, having been made to work hard for victories over Braga and Galatasaray, but the most important thing is they are through to the next round. With the league defeat to Norwich allowing Manchester City to climb to the top of the standings, there is every chance Fergie will rest his starters for the weekend’s game against Queens Park Rangers and field a severely weakened line-up at Ali Sami Yen. Veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs should start, but Nani and Nemanja Vidic continue to miss out.
Galatasaray appear to be far from the desired form at the moment and I am not sure they can win this game. Manchester United may be weakened, but with the likes of Welbeck, Chicharito, Anderson and Fletcher looking to impress, the Red Devils can be trusted to bring at least one point to Old Trafford.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 27/10