IT’S crunch time for Man United as they face Wolfsburg needing at the very least a draw to qualify to go through. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at the odds.
Wolfsburg v Manchester United | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
It looked a winnable group. It looked fairly straight-forward. Yet as the sixth and final matches take place in Group B on Tuesday night Manchester United face the very real prospect of not qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.
Their failure to return the favour and beat PSV on their own patch two weeks ago has put them in a weak position meaning that only a win in Germany here will see them definitely qualify.
PSV are hosting CSKA Moscow in the other Group B match knowing a victory will definitely see them through to the Last 16 at the expense of one of these sides.
Wolfsburg have been fairly consistent in this group. They’ve won to nil at home against CSKA Moscow and PSV and lost to Manchester United and PSV away. But it was their win in Russia two weeks ago that has sent them to the summit of this group as they pulled off a feat that proved beyond the other two sides in the group.
Dieter Hecking’s side lie 5th in the Bundesliga and boast a fine P8 W6 D1 L1 record at home. Their only home defeat came against second place Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Perhaps they had one eye on this match?
As for Manchester United, well it’s just three wins from their last 10 competitions in all matches. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with West Ham was the fourth time in six games they’d failed to score at home. Where’s Fergie?!
Crucially though it was also the sixth time in nine games that they’d kept a clean sheet. In essence this Manchester United side is paying tribute to the George Graham Arsenal sides of the early-90’s.
Wolfsburg have been chalked up as 11/8 favourites with the layers with United 23/10 to grab a famous win. Let’s not beat about the bush, the English side need a monumental performance if PSV don’t slip up. It’s probably the biggest match of Louis Van Gaal’s reign and it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.
The more I think about it, the less I fancy United to get through here. They’ve won just three of their last nine away games this season and the 3-0 win at Goodison Park against Everton in October is the only time they’ve really looked impressive.
They’ve failed to win either of their two Champions League away group stage games and let’s not forget are coming up against a side with a formidable home record who’ll be desperate to go through.
United need an Everton performance, a Spurs back in March display, a replica of the time they squashed Man City back in April. They need a big one but it’s debatable whether these players can bring that to the table.
PSV hold the key here. If they see off CSKA Moscow in Eindhoven then I reckon it’s curtains for Louis Van Gaal’s side. I’ll back the draw here at 5/2 as that’s sufficient for the German side and surely United can give them a test on Tuesday night. Whether that’s enough for the English side is debatable.
Wolfsburg v Man Utd – Draw (5/2 Bet365)
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