2016/17 Champions League
Published: 11:29 23/02/2011
Sir Alex Ferguson begins a run of 4 tough away fixtures by heading to the Velodrome Stadium to face French outfit Olympique Marseille tonight, in the first knock-out round of this year’s UEFA Champions League. However, Manchester United will be without three key figures in Anderson, Rio Ferdinand and evergreen Ryan Giggs for tonight’s clash, with Valencia unable to return for the opening leg.
Ferguson’s side seem to have been running without all cylinders firing throughout the majority of the season, but find themselves on the end of defeat only twice all season having won Group C at the end of last year and have won 5 of their last 6 games.
Didier Deschamp’s Marseille were second to Chelsea in the group stages but defeated the defending English champions at home and are currently unbeaten in the last 6 appearances, showing they are not to be underestimated at home or away. However, Marseille suffered a blow recently with their star strikers falling to injury. Andrea-Pierre Gignac is almost certainly out of the opening leg, while Loic Remy is said to have a good chance to make a full recovery.
Gabriel Heinze will line up for the first time against his old club, which he recently states he regrets departing to Real Madrid in 2007;
"I don't have many regrets from my career as a footballer, but that episode with Ferguson [has] to be one of them," Heinze said.
Marseille will want to pick up a win on home soil if they are to progress to the next round of the competition, as heading to Manchester with anything less is sure to make things incredibly difficult. United have been dominant at Old Trafford in recent seasons, and this year has been no different remaining undefeated, however they stuttered to two draws at home in this year’s Champions League against Rangers and Valencia.
The squad that Sir Alex hopes will take him one step closer to Wembley is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Van Der Sar, Kuszczack, Lindegaard
Defenders: Vidic, O’shea, Brown, Rafael, Fabio, Evra, Smalling
Midfielders: Scholes, Gibson, Nani, Carrick, Fletcher, Bebe, Obertan, Tunnicliffe
Forwards: Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, King
TV Coverage for Marseille vs. Manchester United in the 2010/11 Champions League is available on ITV kicking off at 19:45.