Who: Manchester United vs RB Leipzig
When: Wednesday, October 28th @ 4:00pm ET
Line: Man U +123 | Draw +230| RB Leipzig +235
Manchester United have a huge chance to solidify their chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds if they’re able to defeat an in-form RB Leipzig form at Old Trafford. But the ‘If’ part is extremely relevant. United are yet to find their mojo at home & haven’t won a single game at the Theatre of Dreams.
They might be on a 10-match winning streak in away games, but seem to lose their magic whenever playing at home! After the dullest draw against Chelsea on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must fix the weariness at home and replicate his heroics against PSG to get another big win to take a big step forward into making it out this group – but knows a loss could set back all the good work United did last week.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Shaw, Telles, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Eric Bailly & Phil Jones are the only injury absentees for United – who should go with about the same shape as they played vs PSG – just with a few tweaks. Expect Paul Pogba to finally get a start after being benched in recent games & Axel Tuanzebe should retain his spot too.
RB Leipzig Likely XI
Gulacsi, Mukiele, Upamecano, Orban, Angelino, Olmo, Sabitzer, Kampl, Nkunku, Poulsen, Sorloth
Leipzig have a few injury issues of their own – with key stars Konrad Laimer, Lukas Klostermann, Tyler Adams & Amadou Haidara all likely to miss the clash.
Manchester United vs RB Leipzig Preview
If not anything else, Man United don’t seem daunted at all by the kind of opponents they’re facing in the Champions League group stages. They took the fight to PSG at their own yard, outplayed them and got a big win to start their campaign on a flying note.
But to replicate the same against a Leipzig side currently at the top of the Bundesliga table (ahead of CL champions Bayern Munich) is another ordeal. For one, United don’t have the winning momentum at home as they do in away games. They lack that killer instinct or special something in the final third at home & having no fans is clearing having an effect on their gameplay.
To keep the lid on a dynamic side like RBL, the Red Devils need to play as the unbreakable unit which they were against PSG. This not only means everyone performs well defensively, yet also be alert enough to hit Leipzig on the swift breaks.
United missed a gazillion chances against PSG before getting the win. That can’t happen against a Leipzig side who won’t give them an inch of space. Marcus Rashford is excelling both on & off-the-pitch but needs to be more indecisive & clinical around the final third to back up his overall good work.
Anthony Martial is yet to score this season & must redeem himself after last week’s own-goal. He is struggling to find himself through on goal & must be more clever to carve up opportunities and get the better off the colossal Dayot Upamecano. Bruno Fernandes is oozing with confidence & swagger & will be key again to unlocking Leipzig’s sturdy shape & causing havoc with his eye for goal.
Pogba’s slowly regaining full fitness but is yet to do anything spectacular this season. After his impressive cameo against PSG, he’ll look to really his authority by dominating RBL’s midfielders & looking to create clever chances. Of course in this 5-man backline formation, Alex Telles & Aaron Wan-Bissaka are both key going forward. Telles especially needs to continue his brilliant set-piece delivery/peach crosses, because Harry Maguire & Scott Mctominay can really benefit from them.
Wan-Bissaka has his work cut out because Leipzig love mounting their attacks through the left, with left wing-back & former Man City man Angelino in hot form – creating dangerous moves through his side. Of course, Angelino is hardly the only attacking threat the visitors have.
Even without Timo Werner, Julian Nagelsmann has trained the current lot to perfection. Be it the new goliath goal-machine Alexander Sorloth – who can finish off the slightest of scoring chances – midfield engine & creator in chief Marcel Sabitzer (whose long-rangers are menacing), the tricky Dani Olmo or creative Christopher Nkunku, Leipzig have enough firepower to run through the Red Devils’ backline.
To counter Leipzig’s quick, possession-based, free-flowing attacking style – the entire United team will be key to not letting the game go out of hand. Along with McTominay, Pogba must contribute defensively but the real responsibility will be primed on Maguire. With questions still raised on his capability, he really must dominate the attackers, make good use of his physicality & show impressive reflexes to shut down RBL’s attacks.
Tuanzebe kept Kylian Mbappe in his pocket against PSG, so he’ll be booming with confidence & needs to make use of his impressive pace, dominant style to frustrate the visitors. The good thing for United is that Leipzig aren’t the side to sit back and accept a draw or something.
They will attack from the get-go & give the Red Devils chances to capitalize. As long as United can perfect their counter-attacking schemes, they should score & could get another win as long as they defend strongly.
United’s sketchy home form weighed up against a Leipzig side unbeaten this season doesn’t really hold up. But after the Red Devils’ slight resurgence after the International break, I don’t think they’ll lose either. I’ll go with OGS’ side clawing a 1-1 draw.