Competition: Champions League
Venue: Estádio da Luz
Manchester United have a decent record against Benfica in this competition, having won six of our seven previous meetings with the Primeira Liga runners up. Ferguson’s men will attack the Encarnados’ back four, who conceded at least two goals in each of their last five Champions League games.
- Rio Ferdinand did not travel to Lisbon with the squad this morning. Therefore our former captain has either picked up a fresh injury or he’s being rested for the Chelsea match this weekend. Phil Jones is now expected to make his Champions League debut alongside Jonny Evans in central defence.
- Tom Cleverley will be out for four weeks after suffering ligament damage from a Kevin Davies tackle during the weekend. Michael Carrick is expected to replace the 22-year-old in central midfield. Who will partner him in that position? Hard to tell. Ferguson has hinted that he’ll put out more experienced players, i.e, Ryan Giggs and Ji-sung Park. Dimitar Berbatov might even get his first start of the season.
- Other then Enzo Pere, Benfica have no fresh injuries. The Argentine missed Benfica’s last league match. The 25-year-old remains doubtful for their clash against the Premier League champions.
Players to watch
The Reds have been scoring goals for fun since the season started in late August, with Wayne Rooney scoring more goals than every team bar Manchester City, in the Premier League. Óscar Cardozo will be Benfica’s main threat Wednesday night. The Paraguayan scored 4 goals from 3 games in the league, so far this season.
Predicted starting XI
Anders Lindegaard; Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Luis Nani, Michael Carrick, Ji-sung Park, Ashley Young; Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov.
United have won their last three away games in Portugal in the Champions League, and I don’t see them ruining that stat an time soon. I’m predicting a 3-0 win.