Who: Istanbul Basaksehir vs Manchester United
When: Wednesday, November 4th @ 12:55pm ET
Line: Istanbul Basaksehir +700 | Draw +370| Man U -245
Manchester United are the weirdest, most unpredictable team in Europe right now. They might thrash RB Leipzig one day in the Champions League, only to lose in extremely dull fashion to Arsenal days later. Their home form this season has been embarrassing. Their form away from home, however, has been quite the opposite.
Fortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskajer & co, the next game is not at Old Trafford. They’ve won their last 10 away games on the trot. One can only expect that to continue against lowly Istanbul Basaksehir, aka the ‘whipping boys’ of the group. Despite the game being a 3,000+km long travel, the Red Devils have enough quality to at least redeem Sunday’s disaster with another comfortable win to stay atop of their UCL group.
Istanbul Basaksehir Likely XI
Gonuk, Rafael, Skrtel, Epureanu, Bolingoli-Mbombo, Topal, Visca, Ozcan, Kahveci, Turuc, Demba Ba
Istanbul have 5 first-team players injured, including former Tottenham man Nacer Chadli! But long-time Premier League fans should see some noticeable names in the lineup.
Manchester United Likely XI
Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Fred, Van de Beek, Mata, Martial, Cavani
Eric Bailly remains the only injured player, while Jesse Lingard is unlikely to be fit & Alex Telles is down with coronavirus. After Sunday’s game, expect a number of changes including full debuts for Dean Henderson & Edinson Cavani.
Istanbul Basaksehir vs Manchester United preview
If one word could sum up United’s season so far, it’d be inconsistency. How a team can go from thrashing UCL semi-finalists/finalists to not scoring at home/dropping points regularly is something perhaps even the soccer gods themselves don’t know.
OGS knows his side still lacks quality on a few areas, but there’s no time to sulk. United have been pretty good in responding to negative results under him, so don’t be surprised if they put on an absolutely dominant showing against Istanbul. But doing so won’t be that easy.
Despite being the weakest team in the group, Istanbul have come out fighting in their games and made things uneasy for opponents. Expect the same on Wednesday. They’re defensively decently set up, can frustrate opponents by sitting deep in numbers & boast experienced players like former United star Rafael & Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel!
That style is kryptonite for United. The Red Devils love playing on the counter-attack, but that’ll be limited against a side which rarely even attacks. They struggled to break down a packed Arsenal side on Sunday, but Istanbul obviously doesn’t have that quality. Donny van de Beek will be key in unlocking their fortunes.
With his clever movement, intricate passing & eye for goal, VDB could cause chaos in the key attacking areas. Juan Mata’s also an expert in opening up inroads against a stacked backline in games like these, so expect him to link-up well with the Dutchman. Anthony Martial is back after missing the weekend’s action and with his dribbling ability & clinical nature in front of goal, you expect him to flourish.
Cavani must be ruthless in front of goal & carve chances for himself to get his first goal. If Istanbul do sit back, Fred & Nemanja Matic must be more creative with their passing to break the hosts’ shape. Despite their decent recent defensive form, United’s backline & Henderson must stay alert to counter-attacks & keep a close eye on former Chelsea man Demba Ba.
Every time I predict a win for United, they’ve ended up dropping points. But this game should change that. Despite their recent dull loss, I think they’ll bounce back, be more clinical and pick up a comfortable 2-0 win.