Manchester United may have lost their one hundred percent Premier League record at the weekend away at Stoke but tonight the focus shifts to Champions League action and a return to the Europe’s top club competition. Last season saw a Europa League hiatus which saw them end up as winners after beating Ajax in the Final.
With a Europa League in the trophy cabinet, Jose Mourinho will now look to add a first trophy at this level for United since they won the 2008 final against Chelsea in Moscow. The group draw has been favourable and with Benfica and CSKA Moscow making up Group A then knockout qualification has to be a bare minimum.
The last time these two sides met it resulted in a 2-1 home win for Basel back in December 2011 a win that saw Manchester United have to make do with dropping down to the Europa League Round of 32 that season. They would then go on to be knocked out by competition runners up Athletic Bilbao.
Basel were also paired with English opposition last season in the form of Arsenal. They however finished bottom of Group A with just two points to their name and will be looking to improve on that record this time around. That said with the opposition in the group they may well struggle in which to do so and the safety net of the Europa League after Christmas may well be beyond them.
Romelu Lukaku has already scored in European competition this season after bagging a consolation in the clubs 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the European Supercup last month and has scored four in five matches across all competitons. It could have been a goal in every game were it not for his missed penalty against Leicester at Old Trafford.
United’s squad depth is pretty ominous and it is exactly what will be required if they are to go far not just in this competition but also compete in the Premier League. With slightly lesser opposition in front of them tonight then Mourinho may take the opportunity to make changes from Saturday’s draw away at Stoke.
Even with that in mind though I still think they will have more than enough to get the better of the Swiss champions and I cannot see another than a home win for United and with that a perfect start to the Champions League adventure this season.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 11, 2017