Manchester United v Club Brugge: Champions League match preview
By Alex Stevens
Football Insider looks ahead to Manchester United’s crucial Champions League qualifier as they host Club Brugge on Tuesday in the first leg of a play-off for a place in group stage.
KICK-OFF TIME: Tuesday, 7.45pm
TV: Live on BT Sport Europe
IT’S A BIG GAME FOR…
Wayne Rooney. With Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao having said their summer goodbyes, the Englishman has virtually no competition for the position of the attack spearhead. That is not necessarily a good thing and will soon change, with Pedro to complete a transfer from Barcelona that will provide Louis van Gaal with the one thing he has been missing from his strikers over the last year; pace. Rooney was a fairly blunt weapon in United’s laboured victories over Tottenham and Aston Villa, proving a virtually invisible penalty box presence. The skipper will regard the match against last season’s Europe League quarter-finalists as the ideal opportunity to open his account for the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH…
Morgan Schneiderlin. Could turn out to be the most influential of United’s summer signings if his early performances are anything to go by. His ball-winning and redistribution skills in United’s victories over Spurs and Villa caught the eye and it already appears to be a case of Schneiderlin + one other in Louis van Gaal’s preferred central midfield axis.
Club Brugge punched way above their weight and took on Liverpool in the 1978 European Cup final. Some great footage here:
Manchester United in 2015/16: W, W
Club Brugge in 2015/16: L, W, W, D, W
Brugge to win after 90 minutes 11/1 (Skybet)
HOW WILL THEY LINE UP…
Manchester United (possible): Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Herrera, Januzaj; Rooney.
Club Brugge (possible): Bolat; Meunier, Engels, Duarte, De Bock; Simons, Vormer; Izquierdo, Vanaken, Dierckx; Diaby.
EXPERT VERDICT… United to win by two or more goals