Manchester United will be hoping to mark a return to Champions league football after a year-absence with a convincing victory over Swiss champions FC Basel when both teams lock horns in a group A opening clash Tuesday evening.
Jose Mourinho’s men finished sixth in the league last season but are staging a return to Europe having won the UEFA Europa League and the spirit is high ahead of the game at Old Trafford.
Having started the season on a perfect note, United’s winning run was halted last weekend by Stoke City who held their nerves to get a 2-2 draw at the Bet365 stadium but we will fancy our chances against Basel who we have twice been pitted within the group stage of the competition.
The Red Devils are unbeaten at home in 18 games with the last lose coming in the 2012/2013 season when Real Madrid ran out 2-1 winners in the round of sixteen. We have since then won 14 games and drawn just four, which makes bettors with arbitrage betting companies quite optimistic that Man United will progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
In a bid to challenge in Europe, United have added the trio of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof to their ranks and the team’s tally of 10 points from four matches which has shot them to the top of the league is evidence that they are in top shape.
We will be relying on the firepower of the likes of Lukaku, who has already scored 5 goals in as many games this season while the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Matic are also expected to do their part in putting the Swiss Champions to the sword.
For Basel, they will be targeting a result in Manchester after suffering a 2-1 loss to Lausanne-Sport in the league last Saturday. They also lost their opening league game 2-0 to BSC Young Boys and are currently third on the log.
Their recent record in Europe is also nothing to write home about as they are without a victory in their last eight European matches, having lost five and drawn two less. Their last win in Europe came against French side Saint-Etienne in February 2016.
They finished fourth in the group stage of the competition last season after they could only manage two points from their six games. Their group opponents were Arsenal, PSG and Ludogorets.
The last time they were in England, they were handed a 2-0 defeat by Arsenal but they will however be buoyed by the fact that they knocked Liverpool at Anfield three years ago after forcing the Reds to a 1-1 draw having won 1-0 in Switzerland.