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Preview: Manchester United seeking a winning start to Champions League group against the BSC Young Boys

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BSC Young Boys -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland

Tuesday 14 September 2021, KO 17:45 BST

Referee: François Letexier Assistants: Cyril Mugnier, Mehdi Rahmouni

Fourth Official: Thomas Leonard

VAR: Delajod Willy Assistant VAR: Massimiliano Irrati

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action when they face Young Boys at the Stage de Suisse in Bern on Tuesday evening. It will be the clubs first participation in the competition since their group stage exit last season when they failed to get a point from their last two matches, beaten by Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the final two group stage matches, exiting the competition and falling into the UEFA Europa League, where they went all the way to the final against Villarreal but were beaten 11-10 on penalties with David De Gea not making a single save, missing his penalty. Water under the bridge now.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get out of the group stages of the Champions League this season, after learning a lot last season in their tough group, despite beating PSG and Leipzig in the opening two matches, losing to Istanbul Basaksehir, then beating the Turkish side, falling to defeat against PSG and Leipzig in the final two matches of the competition. This season though, United are playing positively with the signings that have been made and the experience brought to the squad should give United a lot more going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will add a lot of that themselves.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WWDWWD

Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Mason Greenwood, 2 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Young Boys – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWWWW

FC Zurich 4-0 W, FC Basel 1-1 D, Ferencvaros 3-2 W, Ferencvaros 3-2 W, Littau 4-1 W, CFR Cluj 3-1 W

Goals: 6 – Jordan Siebatcheu, 4 – Michel Aebischer, Meschack Elia, 3 – Vincent Sierro, 2 – Christian Fassnacht, Ulisses Garcia, Cédric Zesiger, 1 – Wilfried Kanga, Felix Mambimbi, Moumi Ngamaleu

Assists: 4 – Moumi Ngamaleu, 3 – Meschack Elia, 2 – Michel Aebischer, Jordan Siebatcheu, 1 – Christian Fassnacht, Ulisses Garcia, Silvan Hefti, Fabian Rieder, Vincent Sierro

Previous meetings with Young Boys and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Young Boys have met a total of two times in the UEFA Champions League. United have won both matches, scoring four goals. Both matches were played in the group stages of the competition during the 2018/19 season. United won the first match 3-0 with Paul Pogba scoring a brace (one goal from the penalty spot) and Anthony Martial scoring the other. The match was played at the Stade de Suisse. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with Marouane Fellaini scoring the only goal of the match. United will be seeking to continue their unbeaten run against the Swiss side.

There is no real connection between Manchester United and Young Boys. United have never bought a player from the Swiss club and Young Boys have never bought or loaned a player directly from United. However, a player who has previously played for United has played for Young Boys. Saidy Janko, who was once part of the United academy was loaned to the Swiss side during the 2019/20 season. Janko started life at FC Zurich and was purchased by United in the summer of 2013, playing in the academy. He made one appearance for United’s first team,28 for the U23s, scoring one goal and six assists and four appearances for the U19s.

Team News: Three players unlikely to feature for United against the Young Boys because of injury whilst the Young Boys could be missing up to five players because of injury. United have a few doubts too.

Alex Telles (Ankle/Foot), Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) have all been ruled out of the clash against Young Boys in the Champions League. Phil Jones has not been named in the squad for the competition, so he will not play any part in the competition. Fred is eligible to participate after the FIFA suspension was revoked before the Newcastle match. Edinson Cavani missed the Magpies match with a knock and Scott McTominay is not quite ready to play again after groin surgery. Dean Henderson played for the U23s with Jones on Saturday but will probably miss this match too as his fitness level will need to improve.

Fabian Lustenberger (Achilles), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Achilles), Joël Monteiro (Knee), Esteban Petignat (Unknown) and Nico Maier (Unknown) look set to miss the visit of United in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, although with little information on their fitness available, there is a chance that one or two with the less serious injuries could be available. The Young Boys have played United twice in this competition, losing twice, conceding four goals and not yet scoring a singe goal against them. It could be a good chance for them to fight back, but that seems unlikely, even with United coming out of a turbulent period for the club.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead the attack; Pogba and Fred in midfield against the Young Boys?

Solskjaer has a few problems in his squad at this stage of the season with Telles, Amad and Rashford out injured and McTominay and Henderson working on their fitness. There is a possibility that McTominay could be back in action this week, but personally, I think it might be too early for him at this stage. Fred will be back, which is unfortunate for United as he is not in the greatest form of his career and seems to have more critics than supporters. That said, he has immense energy and can play a part, however little he offers going forward. The likes of Ronaldo, Varane, Sancho and Fernandes will be crucial in this match to get a win for United.

I think David De Gea will keep his starting place, as he has for the last four competitive matches so far this season. Diogo Dalot could come in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka with the Portuguese right-back given a test to show his suitability. Luke Shaw will keep his place on the left. Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire will partner in the centre of defence. In midfield, Donny van de Beek and Fred could combine well, but it is not an ideal midfield combination. Behind the striker, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho could add something going forward, as all three played well against Newcastle. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line.

Match Prediction: United to get another win in Bern on Tuesday evening with Ronaldo and Fernandes seeking to open the Champions League group stage in style?

I expect United to get their first win in the group stage of the Champions League this season. They have previously beaten the Young Boys twice at the same stage of the competition, facing them in the 2018/19 season under the management of Jose Mourinho. Solskjaer will be matched up against David Wagner for the second time for United, facing Huddersfield Town in his second match in charge of the club, winning 3-1 with a brace from Paul Pogba and another goal from Nemanja Matic. United will be more than ready for the Champions League this season, having an easier group than last season.

That said, it will not be a walk in the park for United. They have done well this season with three wins and a draw in the Premier League, sitting at the top of the league based on goals scored, having the same goal difference as Chelsea, who also have ten points at this stage of the season. The demolition of Newcastle United at Old Trafford saw glimpses of the United of old breaking down the opposition with Ronaldo scoring a brace, Fernandes scoring a banger and Jesse Lingard getting in on the action too. This could be a high-scoring match for United, providing they continue on the right path.

Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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