Tuesday 12th September. 7:45PM. BT Sport 2
The Champions League is back with a bang on Tuesday night with eight mouth-watering matches including Celtic V PSG and Barcelona V Juventus. Our attentions, however, will be with Manchester United’s home clash against Basel.
Hearing the iconic theme back at the Theatre of Dreams will be a special occasion, and the hosts will be eager to put in an equally special performance. They’ve already supplied bags of entertainment over the past few weeks. Prepare yourselves for more of the same.
Man Utd Back Among Europe’s Elite
After adding the Europa League trophy to their cabinet in 2016-17, Manchester United’s return to the Champions League will be met with high expectations from the Old Trafford faithful. On the basis of how Jose Mourinho’s men have performed this term, they should be more than ready to start their European campaign in style.
The Red Devils are unbeaten at the top of the Premier League, and have been scoring goals for fun in the opening weeks of 2017-18. New signing Romelu Lukaku has taken to his new side exceptionally well while the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have looked dangerous too.
Mourinho does face a defensive headache as both Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are missing. Nonetheless, if Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba can stamp their authority on the game, the hosts might not have too much to worry about in that sense.
This is a very winnable group for United, and opening the account with three points would set them on their way. However, the experienced Swiss visitors won’t be ready to roll over.
Swiss Looking For Another Upset
Basel might not be considered one of European football’s big boys, but they have picked up a number of notable results against English sides including Manchester United over the years. New manager Raphael Wicky will be eager to record another on Tuesday night.
The visitors haven’t been in great form recently, though, failing to win any of their last three league games. Moreover, last season’s poor showing in this competition shows that they aren’t the force they once were while their summer recruitment does very little to think they’ll be significantly better here.
Top goalscorer Ricky van Wolfwinkel is a name that will ring familiar and the Dutchman would love to score after such a torrid time in England at Norwich. Taulant Xhaka is another recognisable name in the away team’s line-up, but their overall talent is hugely inferior to their formidable opponents.
At this stage, even a draw would be massive for the visitors.
Manchester United V FC Basel Betting
With home advantage on their side, Manchester United are the overwhelming favourites at 1/6 with 888sport. Basel, meanwhile, are 14/1 rank outsiders. Alternatively, the draw can be backed at 6/1.
This is the competition that Mourinho wants to be a part of, and his side will be fully focused on securing a strong start here. An early goal would go a long way to settling the nerves, and should enable the hosts to ease their way to three points. Frankly, that’s exactly what we expect them to do.
It shouldn’t take half an hour for them to find the breakthrough while Basel’s chances are likely to be few and far between regardless of United’s absences. At odds of over Evens, it’s well worth backing the 30-minute result market.
The Red Devils have looked dangerous from a host of different sources, but Lukaku is unquestionably the main source of goals right now.
Given that United’s quality should shine through, we’re backing the Belgian to grab two or more in what will be his first Champions League outing for years.