Donbass Arena, Donetsk
2nd October, 19:45 BST
Manchester United travels to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage fixture of Champions League. David Moyes and his men are under huge pressure to perform after a terrible start to their league campaign. They have made a bright start to the Champions League though and will look to maintain that momentum in this tournament.
Shakhtar made a good start to their season, but have dropped down the league table recently having won just one of their last five league fixture. They are currently third in the Ukrainian Premier League, five points behind league leaders Metalist Kharkiv.
Shakhtar are coming into this game on the back of a draw away to Met. Donetsk. They went behind early in the match as the home side took a 2-0 lead by the 51st minute of the game, but a steller performance in the second half saw them restore parity as Alex Teixeira and Eduardo scored for Shakhtar. In the opening match of their Champions League campaign saw them put out a wonderful performance against Spanish side Real Sociedad away from home. Alex Teixeira, who has been in fine form off late, was once again the hero in that game as he finished the night with a wonderful brace.
Mircea Lucescu doesn’t have too many injury concerns at the moment. New signing Wellington Nem is the only absentee at the moment after undergoing a Knee surgery. He has been left out of the Champions League squad and is still expected to be out for a considerable time before returning to first team action.
Lucescu will set up his side to play on the counter attack. They will sit deep and absorb the pressure from United and look to hit them on the break. Something West Brom exposed last weekend during their win at Old Trafford.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Pyatov (GK); Shevchuk, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Srna; Hubschman, Fernando; Taison, Teixeira, Costa; Adriano
Manchester United have had a fairly disappointing start to their season under new manager David Moyes. The fans and critics have already raised a lot of questions on Moyes’ ability to handle such a big club and the former Everton manager knows that his team must start to perform, at the level that is expected of them, or the pressure will continue to grow.
United are currently 12th in the league table and already eight points behind league leaders Arsenal. They are coming into this game on the back of a shocking defeat at the hands of West Brom at home. It was certainly one of the worst United performance in their recent history and they need to turn around things pretty quickly against Shakhtar.
David Moyes and his side have however made a very bright start to their Champions League campaign, with a comfortable 4-2 win over German side Bayer Leverkusen. Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Antonio Valencia scored for the home side in that game as Bayer’s defence capitulated.
David Moyes rested some first team players in their match against West Brom and they are expected to return to the line-up in this game. The Scotsman is expected to make as many as seven changes to the side that was fielded last weekend. Robin van Persie will replace Hernandez upfront, while Valencia and Young will replace Nani and Kagawa in attack. New signing Fellaini will start alongside Carrick in the pivot, as Anderson drops out.
There is a slight concern about the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and the defender is unlikely to start in this game after putting out a poor performance against West Brom. Evans and Vidic start at the back with Evra replacing Buttner and Smalling replacing Jones.
Darren Fletcher is still out injured, while Fabio and Anderson haven’t travelled with the squad to Ukraine.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Gea (GK); Smalling, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Fellaini; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Persie
Players to watch out for: Alex Teixeira (Shakhtar Donetsk); Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Manchester United