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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

CL Preview - Man U Vs Lyon

Manchester United
United are still missing long term casualties Gary Neville, Mikael Silvestre and Ben Foster. Otherwise, Sir Alex will field his strongest side. That means a return to the starting line up for Vidic, Giggs, Rooney and Ronaldo.Home coach Sir Alex Ferguson will look for a balanced midfield performance, although it's clear from the probable selection of Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney that he has no intention of sitting back. Probable Team: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Scholes, Hargreaves, Ronaldo, Giggs; Tevez, Rooney.

The suggestion that captain Cris, out since last August with knee trouble, could be poised to take his place at centre half might not be just kidology. The defender started against Lille at the weekend, part of strong line-up that Perrin sent out to do battle against a team in mid-table. Benzema played an hour and Govou and Juninho for less than 80 minutes. Bodmer was preferred in midfield to Källström who was held back along with Grosso.Lyon report no injuries after the Ligue 1 match and Perrin will in all likelihood look to start with the same side that was three minutes from victory over United last month, although Hatem Ben Arfa could take part. Benzema should move up front after angrily playing out of position in that Lille encounter.

Probable Team: Coupet; Réveillère, Squillaci, Boumsong, Grosso; Clerc, Toulalan, Juninho, Källström, Govou/Ben Arfa; Benzema.

PLAYERS TO WATCH Rooney (Manchester United): Before his October injury, Rooney didn’t miss when offered a sight of goal. Since his return, the England forward has not been quite so unerring but has shown his usual commitment to the cause, to the point where he delights the crowd by tracking back to his own penalty area to dispossess an opponent. Ferguson will demand the player does his best work in front of Coupet’s goal. If the manager’s instructions are heeded, United will qualify.

Benzema (Lyon): Lyon’s striker Benzema claims all the headlines with his scoring prowess the key to French success could lie with the ability of Benzema to triumph in the contest against United defence. The player was extraordinary to get a wonderful goal against united,
PREDICTION - A European night at Old Trafford. An evenly poised game. The chance of European glory 50years after Munich. Can there be any other outcome but the continuance of United’s Treble quest?

United 2 -0 Lyon