Manchester United take on Shakhtar Donetsk in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday on the back of a torrid run of four league matches without a win.
The Red Devils have taken two points out of twelve in their last four games, managing to concede six and scoring only four. They head into this game with beleaguered boss David Moyes trying to avoid another unflattering record to his name.
After United lost to Everton and Newcastle United at home for the first time in 21 years and 41 years respectively, he faces the ignominy of presiding over a trio of losses at home, for a United side, for the first time since 1962.
Strangely enough, United’s form in Europe will give their manager cause for optimism. He has had a horrific time in the Premier League, but it is in the Champions League that his team has produced decent performances. And Moyes has minimal experience in the competition.
The return of the in-form Wayne Rooney to the starting line-up is also a shot in the arm for the Old Trafford outfit. The midfield as usual remains a cause for concern; however, the form of the ageless Ryan Giggs in the competition at the heart of the midfield will be a reason to be positive.
United face a Shaktar side needing to better Bayer Leverkusen’s result away to Real Sociedad. The Ukrainians are five points clear at the top of their own league. They will be aware of United’s vulnerabilities and looking to exploit them, especially through their Brazilian contingent of Taison, Alex Teixeira, Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano.
A second place finish for United leaves them with the prospect of facing the likes of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Diego Simione’s impressive Athletico side, or the galacticos of Real Madrid in the round of 16. Qualification is secure for United, but a need to produce a positive result is abundantly clear.
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