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MANCHESTER UNITED

Philips Stadion, Eindhoven

15 September, 6:45 GMT

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Manchester United return to Champions League football after 18 months and the Red Devils will be looking to test the progress that they have made during this period against Phillip Cocu’s men.

After United’s elimination from Champions League, David Moyes was eventually sacked and Louis van Gaal has spent over a 250 million to improve the squad. Dutch winger Memphis Depay was signed from PSV in the summer for a fee of around A?25 million.

Memphis returns to his former club and United would be hoping that the Dutchman is at his best as the Red Devils are without the services of captain Wayne Rooney, who is nursing a hamstring injury. A?36 million record signing Anthony Martial is also set to make his Champions League debut for his new club and his blistering cameo in the 3-1 victory over Liverpool FC will only add to the hopes.

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While Manchester United are filled with confidence following the brilliant second-half display against arch-rivals Liverpool FC, PSV also come on the back of a 6-0 victory over Cambuur and would be brimming with confidence.

Team News, Tactics and Line-Up

PSV

PSV are unbeaten in the Eredivisie, having scored 14 goals so far in their five fixtures. The Dutch outfit are currently fourth in their league and would be hoping a positive start would increase their chances of qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

PSV, CSKA Moscow, Wolfsburg and Manchester United form a tricky group B with no clear favourites to top the group.

Boeren are without the services of defender Jetro Willems and winger Florian Jozefzoon, but manager Phillip Cocu would be looking to line-up his squad in his preferred 4-2-1-3 formation with Luuk de Jong expected to lead the attack. The former Newcastle United striker would be flanked by Luciano Narsingh and on-loan winger Maxime Lestienne.

Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado is expected to start in the hole behind De Jong and the midfield pivot would be formed by the duo of Jorrit Hendrix and summer acquisition Davy Propper.

Dutch goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet is likely to retain his place in between the sticks having conceded only four goals in the league so far. New signing Hector Moreno is set to partner Jeffrey Bruma in the heart of defence with Santiago Arias set to be handed the duty to keep former teammate Memphis Depay quiet. Joshua Brenet will be covering at left-back for the injured Jetro Willems.

Expected Line-up: Zoet, Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Brenet; Hendrix, Propper, Guardado; Narsingh, De Jong and Lestienne.

psv united

Manchester United

The Red Devils have had a stuttering start to the season in the league and the team has never looked to hit top form apart from the second half against Liverpool FC. However, the team was in imperious form over the two-legged qualifiers against Club Brugge last month.

While, PSV are a notch above Club Brugge, Manchester United would be looking to repeat a showing akin to the one against the Belgian side. With club captain Wayne Rooney unavailable for the fixture against the Dutch side, Marouane Fellaini will start as the lone striker, as was the case against Liverpool FC.

Memphis Depay is expected to feature against his former side, although the Dutch winger was replaced at half-time against Liverpool FC. Juan Mata is likely to retain the slot on the right wing as Louis Van Gaal finally looks to be settling on the 4-2-3-1 formation.

A?36 million signing Anthony Martial will retain his place on the bench as van Gaal slowly bloods the 19-year-old into the first team. Saturday’s goalscorer Ander Herrera is expected to start in the No. 10 spot behind Fellaini with Carrick and Schweinsteiger looking to form the midfield pivot. The same back-line which started against Liverpool FC will be seen and Manchester United look even more solid with David De Gea returning in between the sticks.

Expected Line-up: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schweinsteiger, Carrick, Herrera; Mata, Fellaini and Depay

Key Facts:

  • In their last four matches, Manchester United have beaten PSV on two occasions and have lost once.
  • The Red Devils have only lost once in their last four trip to Netherlands.
  • PSV hold the Dutch record for most seasons in the Champions League with 14.
  • The Dutch club have lost thrice in their last four Champions League home games.
  • Out of their last eight attempts to qualify from group stages, Manchester United have progressed seven times
  • PSV have not scored more than two goals in their last 30 Champions League games.
  • Manchester United have kept a clean sheet in five of their last eight Champions League games.

Player to watch out for:

Memphis Depay (Manchester United)

Manchester United vs Club Brugge

It will be the home-coming of PSV’s golden boy Memphis Depay and the winger would be looking to end the visit on a high. The 21-year-old scored two stunning goals against Club Brugge in the qualifiers and would be looking to maintain his good form in the Champions League.

Depay was substituted at half-time against Liverpool FC and the introduction of Ashley Young sparked life into a boring game. Knowing that the English winger is lurking, waiting to pounce on Depay’s mistakes and make the left wing his own, the Dutchman would like to improve on one of the key shortcomings of his game, consistency.

Depay scored 22 goals for PSV last term and he would be looking to score a couple more at the Philips Stadion.

Prediction

PSV 2 – 3 Manchester United

While the return of De Gea in the starting line-up has definitely bolstered United defence, the Red Devils back-line remains inexperienced and is vulnerable at times. PSV will be looking to exploit this weakness if they are to come out of the match with anything.

Manchester United would be looking to mark their return in the competition with a win. Being part of a tricky group in the Champions League is always difficult and the Red Devils would be looking to take an early lead over their rivals.

Blast from the Past