Preview: Beat Copenhagen or bust for United in the Champions League; the players must push for the win or face the consequences

Beating Copenhagen is a must for Ten Hag on Wednesday evening to push for European stay this season

FC Copenhagen -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

Wednesday 8 November 2023, KO 20:00 GMT

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday evening as they travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen. United beat the Danish side a fortnight ago, registering their first victory in the competition this season – a terrible start for Erik ten Hag’s side.

United have not just started terribly in the Champions League this season – they are also out of the Carabao Cup, beaten by Newcastle United, last seasons finalists and have lost five of their 11 matches in the Premier League so far this season. United need results and fast.

United have lost to both Bayern Munich and Galatasaray in the Champions League so far this season, so a victory here will put them in good stead to get out of the group, however, they will need to beat both Bayern and Galatasaray in the last two group stage matches to be certain.

United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Fulham 1-0 W, Newcastle 3-0 L, City 3-0 L, Copenhagen 1-0 W, Sheffield 2-1 W, Brentford 2-1 W

Goals: 4 – Casemiro, 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Rasmus Hojlund, Scott McTominay, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Alejandro Garnacho, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Hannibal Mejbri, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

Assists: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Christian Eriksen, 1 – Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez, Mason Mount, Facundo Pellistri, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Copenhagen – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Randers 4-2 W, Midtjylland 1-0 W, Hvidovre 4-0 W, United 1-0 L, Vejle BK 2-1 W, AGF 1-1 D

Goals: 9 – Roony Bardghji, 8 – Orri Óskarsson, 7 – Diogo Gonçalves, 5 – Jordan Larsson, Lukas Lerager, 4 – Viktor Claesson, Mohamed Elyounoussi, 3 – Rasmus Falk, Denis Vavro, 2 – Elias Achouri, Victor Froholdt, 1 – Kevin Diks, Valdemar Lund, Noah Sahsah

Assists: 7 – Elias Achouri, 5 – Diogo Gonçalves, Orri Óskarsson, 4 – Christian Sörensen, 3 – Mohamed Elyounoussi, Rasmus Falk, Lukas Lerager, 2 – Kevin Diks, Jordan Larsson, 1 – Nicolai Boilesen, Oscar Højlund, Elias Jelert, Birger Meling, Denis Vavro

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Copenhagen have met four times in European competition. United have won three times, drawn no times with Copenhagen winning once. United have scored five goals. Copenhagen have scored one goal. They last met in the Europa League back in 2020 winning 1-0, prior to this season.

United and Copenhagen last met in the Champions League back in 2006, with United winning 3-0 with goals from Paul Scholes, John O’Shea and Kieran Richardson. United then lost 1-0 in the latter group stage game with Marcus Allbäck scoring the only goal. United won 1-0 last time.

Johan Guadagno and Rasmus Hojlund are the only two players to have played for United and Copenhagen. Hojlund’s two brothers Emil Hojlund and Oscar Hojlund, both 18, currently play for Copenhagen. There could be a battle of the brothers on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford.

Team News

Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot), Tyrell Malacia (knee) Luke Shaw (other), Amad Diallo (knee) and Casemiro (thigh) have all been ruled out due to injury. Jadon Sancho is out of action at this time due to personal problems at the club. United have many problems with fitness etc.

Marcus Rashford (other) and Victor Lindelof (illness) both have 50% chances of being available for United’s fourth group stage clash in the Champions League this season. Perhaps Kobbie Mainoo could be in with a chance of getting some first team action following his injury?

William Clem (broken foot), Davit Khocholava (knee) and Nicolai Boilesen (unknown) are the only injury concerns for the Danish side ahead of the visit of United this week. They seem to have a pretty fresh team ahead of what will be a must win match for United.

Predicted United Starting XI – 4-3-3


Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Evans, Reguilon;

Fernandes, Amrabat, McTominay;

Mount, Hojlund, Garnacho

Predicted Copenhagen Starting XI – 4-3-3


Jelert, Vavro, Diks, Meling;

Goncalves, Falk, Claesson;

Bardghji, Larsson, Elyounoussi

Match Prediction

United have boosted their confidence in the 1-0 victory over Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, although they did leave it late to get the win. Three points were a must for United and that’s what they got, which took some pressure off Ten Hag in the end.

United will need the same game plan against Copenhagen on Wednesday evening as they will need three points from this match to have any chance of getting out of the group this season, even if it saw them exit into the UEFA Europa League for the second part of the season.

United will need to get themselves out of the problems that have arisen this season. It could be a confidence thing, a protest against the manager or a number of other reasons. The manager knows what he has to do and the players will one day realise that it’s their job to perform.

Copenhagen 0-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.