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Champions League preview: Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

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With as many as ten players injured going into their crucial Wednesday night Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal may have to experiment with his depleted squad against a difficult side.

Manchester United aren’t down to bare bones – just yet – but to add numbers to their match day squad, youngsters Nick Powell, Regan Poole, Guillermo Varela and James Weir all trained with the rest of the squad ahead of their Champions League clash with PSV.

Ander Herrera and Phil Jones both limped off with injuries during United’s narrow 2-1 victory over Watford at the weekend, whilst the likes of captain Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, James Wilson, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw were all already looking on from the treatment room.

Manager Louis Van Gaal is enjoying a fairly consistent (but dull) period in his United tenure, with his side producing confident defensive displays. David De Gea genuinely looks like one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now, and Chris Smalling has been showing both club and country that he’s ready to step up as a leader at the back.

But with Rooney’s illness, and the injury Martial picked up during the international break, not to mention Wilson’s knee problem and supposing “lack of fitness”, United’s attacking options are wearing thin.

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Memphis Depay scoring against Watford

This meant that Memphis Depay was given his first meaningful start since October’s loss to Arsenal, and the Dutchman seized the moment, scoring on the 11th minute with a nice finish from Herrera’s cross, and was unlucky not to add more. Overall, his performance at Watford would have satisfied his manager, and there’s little doubt he’ll be given the opportunity to start against his former employers on Wednesday night.

Van Gaal must be ruing the day he sold Javier Hernandez, as the little Mexican has scored ten goals in his last seven games, and certainly looks at home with Bayer Leverkusen. Maybe even Robin Van Persie, who’s currently looking bored on the bench at Fenerbahce, or Radamel Falcao, looking lost at Chelsea, would benefit United right now. Rooney and Martial will face late fitness tests on Wednesday night, but it’s likely that a makeshift attack of Jesse Lingard and Depay will have to do against a decent PSV side.

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Juan Mata trying to break-through PSV’s tough defence

PSV find themselves 3rd in the Dutch Eredivisie, having lost only once this season in the league, and have been impressive in front of goal, having scored 14 goals in their last four matches. They’ll be eager to unsettle United early on amidst the possible sour feelings inside Old Trafford, as it’s been over two months since Luke Shaw broke his leg in a challenge with Hector Moreno during the first match at PSV.

Manchester United go into this game knowing they need to win this, or the final group match against Wolfsburg, to secure progression into the next round of the Champions League.

I suspect PSV may score first, early on. United to go behind and still win is currently 17/2 on Betfect.

Images from www.facebook.com/manchesterunited/

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