Champions League

Preview: FC Basel vs Manchester United

Manchester United make their first visit to St. Jakob’s Park since going out of the Champions League on the same turf almost six years ago. Meanwhile, Basel are looking to strengthen their position in second place.

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Form

The home side returned from the international break to extend their unbeaten run from six games to seven, as they thrashed bottom side FC Sion 5-1, goals from Michael Lang, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Renato Steffen and a Kevin Bua brace doing the damage.

In the Champions League, their record stands at two wins and two losses. One of those coming courtesy of Manchester United at Old Trafford, the second coming in the previous matchday, a home reverse to CSKA Moscow, which helps increase the battle for second place in Group A.

United kept their grip on second place as they disposed of Newcastle United with relative ease as the Red Devils came away 4-1 winners, a game which signalled the returns of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Paul Pogba from their long-term injuries.

Mourinho’s men have four wins from four including the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in September and are almost assured of their place in the last 16, with just a point needed to confirm it.

Team News

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Marek Suchy could keep his place after replacing Eder Balanta for the weekend, one-time Manchester United target Dimitri Oberlin could get an opportunity to impress.

The Swiss outfit will still likely be missing the services of long-serving reserve goalkeeper, Germano Valiati and the free-scoring forward and former Norwich frontman, Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

Pogba, Rojo and Ibrahimovic may all be present in the squad again, whereas the game could come too early for Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, meaning Victor Lindelof could keep his place alongside Chris Smalling.

There is no return date placed on Michael Carrick’s lay-off as the United captain looks to continue his rehabilitation.

Prediction

The sides have previous. United beat them in September with Romelu Lukaku notching his first Champions League goal and before that, Basel beat United 2-1 in Switzerland and in the same campaign the Red Devils had to salvage a late draw to end the game 3-3.

I think the 20-time English Champions will have too much for the Swiss outfit with United’s returnees.

FC Basel 0-2 Manchester United.

Feature image credit: Pengster

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