Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Europa League: Man United vs Athletic Bilbao

Tougher Opponent

Man United
Athletic Bilbao
Old Trafford
8 March 2012 (9 March 2012 Malaysia)
20.05 pm (4.05 am Malaysia)

United squeezed into the last 16 after beating Ajax 3-2 on aggregate. A sudden lost of concentration almost cost Man United their place in the last 16. Man United was beaten 1-2 at home but advanced due to 2-0 win in the first leg.

Now Man United will face tougher opponent playing with flairs and skill. Under Marcelo Bielso Athletic Bilbao was a team that hard to predict. They got two dangerous players, Javi Martinez and Fernado Llorente. The Spanish Martinez who is under Man United radar also attracted interest from Barca and Inter. It was reported he has a tag price of  €40 million. He is the main at the engine room, the kept his team running. Very discipline player, energetic and also good in shooting and tackling. Llorente who also been sought by many teams is also their main man. The Spanish forward now had scored 20 goals for Athletic Bilbao in all competitions with 13 goals is Primera Liga and two in Europa League.

Athletic Bilbao doing pretty good in Spanish Primera. Sitting at fifth  place and not lost for the last four games. Man United surely had to do better that they did against Tottenham recently.

Again with Sunday game against West Brom at home at their mind, Man United had to rotate their players wisely. Any slip up due to tired players will hand Manchester City premier league title.

Dea Gea who had amazing games recently surely be the Man United keeper. Evra- Evans- Smalling- Jones might be the line up for Man United rearguard. Carrick and Giggs at the central midfield. Young maybe rested for this game so Ji Sung Park will take his place. Nani who has mediocre  game against Tottenham will play as another winger. Welbeck and Rooney maybe rested. That will give Hernandez and Tottenham chance to prove themselves.

Hope Man United will win without conceding a single goal. This is very important to face Athletic Bilbao in the second leg.

  • United have won just one of four home European matches this season
  • Athletic Club have never won on English soil (won 1, lost 6)
  • The last time the Reds faced Bilbao at Old Trafford was on 6th February 1957, where they won 3-0 after losing the first leg 5-3
  • Athletic Bilbao are one of only three Spanish teams (along with Barcelona and Real Madrid) to have never been relegated from Spain’s top division.
  • The Reds have conceded 7 goals in 4 matches at home in Europe this season
  • Paul Scholes is the last English player to score at Old Trafford in a secondary European competition (v Rotor Volgograd 1995)
  • United’s last game in the last 16 of a secondary European competition was also against Spanish opposition. They lost 4-1 on aggregate to Atletico Madrid in the 1991/1992 European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign.

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