Manchester United played themselves into a delicate situation when they failed to beat PSV Eindhoven on Match-Day-Five of the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils went into that tie needing a win to qualify for the knockout phase but failed to get past the Dutch team’s defence as their struggles in front of goal continued.
Louis van Gaal’s men are one of the lowest scoring sides in the competition after netting just five times and conceding four but if they want to progress beyond the group stages and avoid the hectic schedules that come with the pressure of playing in the Europa league, they need a convincing win in Germany this evening.
366Football.com highlights five ways Manchester United can qualify for the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League.
- Score an early goal: Under Louis van Gaal, scoring seems to be the hardest thing to accomplish as they team have failed to convince in front of goal this season.
Against Wolfsburg, they need to score early to ease pressure and settle quickly into their possession game.
- Wayne Rooney’s absence a good omen: Manchester United Captain is a great footballer but has not lived up to his high reputation this season as he has only registered two goals this term and looking like a wrestler rather than a footballer.
Injury has ruled him out for this tie and allows the manager to play a very attacking and youthful attack that consists of Jesse Lingard, Memphis Depay, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata which will be more fluid without the 30-year-old Rooney.
- Control the midfield: The Red Devils have controlled possession against most of their opponents this season and against Wolfsburg, they will need to show increased hunger of wanting the ball and try to hurt their opponent by releasing the ball to their pacey frontline.
- Stop supplies from Julian Draxler to Bas Dost: Since the departure of Kevin de Bruyne to Manchester City, Draxler has been the main supplier for Dost and the pair looks dangerous while playing together.
The Red Devils needs to break play at all times when Wolfsburg has the ball to avoid the home side’s fast breaks on the counter-attack. Unfortunately, Morgan Schneiderlin is not fit for this encounter which leaves Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick in the middle.
But, both players are seasoned campaigners and very experienced and should be able to cope with the pressure.
- David de Gea will have to be 100% focused: Wolfsburg have a massive advantage qualifying for the next round and may concede possession to the visitors which may be for larger spells of the game as they look to counter-attack.
Lack of activity in the United goal area may cause the Spaniard to lose concentration like we saw against West Ham in the premier league at the weekend where he unusually spilled and the follow up shot luckily rebounded off the post before it was cleared.
Against Wolfsburg, Manchester United cannot afford a lot of concentration especially at the back with de Gea as the last line in defense.
We are in for a great night of UEFA Champions League football as Wolfsburg, Manchester United, PSV have a great chance of progressing into the next with only CSKA Moscow eliminated so far in Group B.