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Preview: Rangnick to give Amad and Elanga a chance against Young Boys with United wanting another win?

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Manchester United -v- Young Boys

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 8 December 2021, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Benoît Bastien Assistants: Hicham Zakrani, Aurélien Berthomieu

Fourth Official: Jérémie Pignard

VAR: Benoît Millot Assistant VAR: Delajod Willy

Manchester United face Young Boys at Old Trafford in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, knowing that they have secured the top spot in the group as they have beaten Villarreal twice in the competition this season and the Spanish side can only match the ten points United have amassed in the competition so far this season. If United beat Young Boys, which should happen, they will have 13 points this season. Young Boys only have four points in five matches and three of them came in the opening match when they beat United 2-1. Ralf Rangnick’s United side should be seeking a confidence building session.

United are undefeated since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by the Old Trafford club. Michael Carrick led United to two wins and one draw and Rangnick has one win in his first match in charge, seeing United beat Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Old Trafford club have a pretty easy run throughout December and should be challenging those above them, breaking into the top four by the time we reach 2022. That will be the plan that United should have set, seeking to start a title charge under Rangnick with the club expected to learn a lot under his tutelage. Hopefully, Manchester United start to show signs they can compete this season.

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

Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W, Watford 4-1 L, Manchester City 2-0 L

Goals: 12 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

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

Servette FC 2-1 L, FC Lugano 3-1 W, FC Zürich 1-0 L, Atalanta 3-3 D, Grasshopper Club Zürich 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 L

Goals: 12 – Jordan Siebatcheu, 9 – Wilfried Kanga, 8 – Christian Fassnacht, 6 – Meschack Elia, 4 – Michel Aebischer, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu, Vincent Sierro, 3 – Ulisses Garcia, Fabian Rieder, 2 – Silvan Hefti, Felix Mambimbi, Cédric Zesiger, 1 – Nicolas Bürgy, Quentin Maceiras, Miralem Sulejmani

Assists: 9 – Michel Aebischer, 7 – Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu, 6 – Meschack Elia, Felix Mambimbi, 5 – Fabian Rieder, 3 – Silvan Hefti, Marvin Spielmann, Miralem Sulejmani, 2 – Ulisses Garcia, Jordan Siebatcheu, 1 – Christian Fassnacht, Wilfried Kanga, Christopher Martins Pereira, Vincent Sierro

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

United and Young Boys have met a total of three times in the UEFA Champions League. United have won two, losing one matches, scoring five goals, conceding two. 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 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. United were beaten 2-1 earlier this season – seeking a win here.

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: Two players ruled out for United with Young Boys having eight players out of action at this time. Could United field some youth players along with fringe players, or remain strong to get the win?

Paul Pogba (Thigh) and Raphael Varane (Thigh) have been ruled out for the visit of Young Boys. Luke Shaw (Head) and Edinson Cavani  (Tendon) both have a 25% chance of being available for United whilst Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard (both Muscular) have a 50% chance of being fit to face Young Boys. Rangnick could pick a number of fringe players to face Young Boys and with the U19’s also through, some youth players could be given a chance in this match, which would be ideal for them but may not actually happen. I am sure that United will field a side capable of getting all three points in the bag in the final group stage match.

David von Ballmoos (Shoulder), Cédric Zesiger (Metatarsal), Ulisses Garcia (Calf), Christian Fassnacht (Concussion), Fabian Rieder (Illness), Esteban Petignat (Unknown), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Achilles) and Joël Monteiro (Knee) will all be out of action for the visit to the Theatre of Dreams in the final Champions League group stage match. Wilfried Kanga is also a doubt according to UEFA.com. It could well be that Young Boys will have an inexperienced squad to face United, which could also be the case for United, who have a chance to rotate the squad in a match considered as a dead rubber, seeing as their qualification has been confirmed.

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Elanga and Amad Diallo to be given a chance against Young Boys? Fred and Scott McTominay should keep their places with Eric Bailly partnering Harry Maguire?

Rangnick is still in his infancy as United’s manager but he will have a big clue about who he can trust, who needs to get a chance and probably who needs to have a rest before bigger fixtures arrive this month. This is in effect a dead rubber of a match because United have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition. Whilst United will still want to win and Cristiano Ronaldo will still be seeking to break records, scoring in every match in the competition so far this season, which will mean he should still play, even if it is just for the first half of the match. United have a lack of forwards right now but could bring in some youth.

I would imagine that David De Gea will keep his place in goal against Young Boys, although I would not be surprised if Dean Henderson plays ahead of him. United will want to win this match though and the English goalkeeper does not have much match fitness this season. In defence, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles should keep their places, as should Harry Maguire. With Phil Jones not registered in this competition, Eric Bailly could partner him. Scott McTominay and Fred should play in the midfield two with Jadon Sancho (left) and Amad Diallo (right) in the wide positions. Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Elanga could spearhead the attack.

Match Prediction: United will be seeking to end the group stages of the Champions League on a high with a win over Young Boys, paying them back for their shock defeat at the start of the competition.

United were beaten by Young Boys in the opening group stage fixture this season, losing 2-1. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off, which was harsh considering the the next evening, a player did something similar and was not sent off. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first goal of the game in the 13th minute with Young Boys equalising in the 66th minute and scoring the winner five minutes into added time at the end of the match. It was a poor defeat for United and added pressure to the club in the competition, knowing what happened last season with them needing a point from their last two matches, ending up defeated in both.

On Wednesday at the Theatre of Dreams, United will need to kick back and ensure they beat Young Boys this time. United are safely through to the knockout stage of the Champions League this season but with Rangnick’s second match in charge of the club, they will not want a defeat to destabilise the form United have shown in the last four matches with three wins, one draw and two clean sheets. United have a relatively easier run this month, so should be able to rotate the squad significantly, with players also returning from injury, which will take the pressure off those being used more than others at this time.

Manchester United 2-0 Young Boys

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW