Manchester United v Valencia: Champions League Preview

Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) and Manchester United's French striker Anthony Martial react after the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Young Boys and Manchester United at The Stade de Suisse in Bern on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United Host Valencia in their second game of this season’s Champions League. They opened their European account for the season with a 3-0 away win in Switzerland against Young Boys.

Manchester United Host Valencia in Champions League

Background

Valencia

This is a must win game for both sides here as bad results and poor starts to the domestic season have overshadowed each team’s first few games.

Valencia had an absolutely brilliant season last season and got themselves back into the Champions League after a few bad years. This is a club who have a proud history and an amazing fan base.

They can be your best friends or worst enemies (Ask Gary Neville if you don’t believe me). Rafael Benitez managed Valencia from 2001 to 2004 and won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup.

Valencia also finished runners-up in the Champions League in both 99/00 and 00/01, losing to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively

They do seem to be on an upward trajectory under Marcelino, who took over from Gary Neville. He seems to have done a complete transformation of a club where the atmosphere was becoming toxic.

Money issues and stadium problems have dogged the club but with Peter Lim in charge (coincidently, he is a major shareholder in Salford City with the Class of 92) things are on the up with a return to the top table of European Football.

Players to Watch

Gonçalo Guedes –  Last season, he was being seen as the symbol of the resurgence of Los Che. A small and talented winger with an eye for the spectacular whose early season form captured a lot of attention, he made his move permanent from PSG this summer. He will be the big danger Man United have to keep a close eye on.

Geoffrey Kondogbia –  Another story of redemption at Valencia in Geoffrey Kondogbia. When he transferred from Monaco to Inter Milan for €31 million,  a lot was expected. The midfielder didn’t live up to his price tag and went on loan to Valencia last season. His great form made Valencia make his loan permanent this season. A strong, physical and talented player will be the man providing a stern test for Pogba and co.

Rodrigo –  A striker made in Madrid and settled in Valencia via Benfica and Bolton of all places. However, don’t let this fool you – Rodrigo is a very talented footballer. Last season, he scored 16 goals and was rewarded with a new contract. Also, a seat on the plane to Russia for World Cup for Spain.

Background

Manchester United

If Valencia have had a poor start to the season, then it’s hard to use the right words to sum up United’s start. Three defeats already in the league have put United down into tenth position. The exit to Derby County in the League Cup on penalties sent the crisis klaxon sound.

Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba don’t see eye to eye at the minute with each thinking they will last longer than the other at Old Trafford. Other players who seem to be caught in the crossfire are Eric Bailly and Anthony Martial.

Every fan and pundit alike has dissected Saturday’s car crash performance against West Ham. Mourinho and United need a result fast to quell any dissent from the fans and stop any negative momentum generated from the club’s bad start.

Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez both returned to training on Monday but Jesse Lingard did not. Alexis Sanchez wasn’t in the matchday squad but did travel to London for the game. Suggestions are now that he and Mourinho have fallen out. It never rains but it pours in Manchester.

Players to Watch

Diogo Dalot – His performance against Young Boys certainly caught the eye of many a United fan. Full of energy and attacking vigour, the full-back impressed on his debut for the club. If he starts again then he will look to give the home fans plenty to cheer about.

Ander Herrera – Mourinho may look to shuffle his pack for this game. Herrera’s passing in midfield and influence might be crucial in winning the midfield battle; he would be up against a strong Valencia central midfield duo of Parejo and Kondogbia.

Marcus Rashford – A great 20-minute cameo on Saturday saw him come on and bag a great goal against West Ham. With Sanchez and Martial seemingly in Mourinho’s bad books; then this could be a game where he shows his quality on the European stage.

Previous Meetings Manchester United v Valencia

Manchester United have faced Valencia six times in the Champions League and have never lost to their Spanish opponents.

Played – 6

Manchester United – 2

Draw – 4

Valencia – 0

Their last encounter was a 1-1 draw in the Champions League Group Stages in 2010. The game finished 1-1 with Pablo Hernandez opening the scoring for Valencia but Brazilian midfielder Anderson equalised. In the first encounter, it was a 1-0 for United, with Javier Hernandez scoring the deciding goal.

Group H So Far

Manchester United travelled to Switzerland to face Young Boys in their first outing in Group H. They won 3-0 with goals from Paul Pogba (2) and Anthony Martial sealing all three points for the visitors.

Valencia hosted Juventus at the Mestalla and a bizarre incident in the first half saw Cristiano Ronaldo given a straight red card. Juventus won the game with two penalties dispatched by Miralem Pjanic.

Juventus play host to Young Boys in the other game in Group H and will be looking to add their second win after their win in Valencia.

Young Boys will enjoy their short trip to Turin in their first Champions League Campaign.

Referee: Slavko Vinčić
Kick off 20:00pm
Manchester United v Valencia will be shown on British TV on BT Sport 2 and on the BT Sport App.

Main Photo

 

Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.