Manchester United are already in must-win territory of their season. After a mini-revival which saw them beat Burnley and Crystal Palace (in EFL Cup), they were brought back down to earth with a limp home defeat to Crystal Palace in the league. Now they turn their attentions to the Champions League where a loss to Bayern Munich on the first matchday has immediately made this fixture a must-win for the Red Devils.
Unlike Man United, Galatasaray are flying in the Turkish League, going unbeaten so far and scoring 14 goals in their seven games. They hit a snag on their first matchday in the UCL as well, only managing a draw against FC Copenhagen that did no favours for either team.
Manchester United and Galatasaray games have been competitive in UCL history, with two wins for United, three draws, and a victory for the Turkish side as well.
Here’s the match preview and what can be expected from this game:
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester.
When: Tuesday, 3rd October, 2023.
Time: 8 PM BST
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak.
Assistants: Branislav Hancko and Jan Pozor.
VAR: Bastian Dankert.
Assistant VAR: Bram van Driessche.
Despite some recent returns like Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, and Sofyan Amrabat, Manchester United’s injury list remains a long way off of 100% availability.
They will again be without a specialist LB as Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw remain long-term absentees. Emergency loanee Sergio Reguilon is expected to be out until after the international break.
Jadon Sancho’s self-inflicted impasse with Erik ten Hag continues which rules him out of this game. However, one attacking reinforcement might be on his way as Antony has returned to the club after his leave of absence. He can be expected to make the bench for this game.
Other long-term absentees include Amad, Kobbie Mainoo, Lisandro Martinez, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
For Galatasaray, there will be no English Premier League reunion for Hakim Ziyech, who is suffering from an injury and will miss this game. There will be one, though, for Wilfried Zaha, who has started well in Turkey. LB Kazimcan Karatas is the only other injury doubt and it would be a surprise if he played here.
United have traditionally found games against Turkish opposition to be quite tricky and even when they win, it’s usually a scrap instead of a coast.
The same is expected to be the case here, even more so because Galatasaray have strengthened considerably. There are a lot of names in the squad that Premier League fans will be familiar with. Wilfried Zaha has already been discussed, but there is also Davinson Sanchez, Lucas Torreira, and Tanguy Ndombele in their ranks.
Manager Okan Buruk has managed to turn this squad of players into a supreme attacking unit which dominates possession and attacks in numbers. In their last league game, against Ankaragucu, they had 69% possession and took 36 shots at goal, with 13 being on target.
Obviously, the gulf in quality of opposition will make a difference, but this team now possesses the attacking threat to go with their usual grit and toughness.
United will need to shake off the attacking stupor they found themselves in against Palace to have a chance in this fixture. Otherwise, this fixture has “banana skin” written all over it.
The United academy man has come in for a lot of criticism this season for his below-par displays. The decision-making has been erratic, attacking play inconsistent, and goal threat non-existent.
The nadir was reached at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace, where his left wing was the area where United attacks went to fizzle out.
Luckily for him, the fullback position is the soft spot in Galatasaray’s team. Sacha Boey is a gamely attacking threat on the right but lacks the discipline to follow his man in defence for the full 90.
Creating overloads on his side through Rashford might become United’s go-to attacking game plan but for that to succeed, the player will need to revive his last season’s version.
Former player tormenting with his new team is a script all too familiar in football. Zaha’s United move was supposed to be the building block of a superstar’s career at the top of the game. Instead, circumstances conspired it to become a lost cause. To his credit, he rebuilt his reputation back at Palace before earning himself a UCL move this season in Turkey.
He has started well in Turkey, recently scoring his debut league goal and being an all-around attacking threat from the left.
He will be driven to make a difference against United, particularly when up against an overworked Diogo Dalot on the right as United don’t have another natural RB in their ranks.
Dalot has been commendable in his performances as he has been carrying the flag for United’s right all by himself after Wan-Bissaka’s injury. However, Zaha is a player who keeps defenders on their toes for the full 90 due to his array of dribbling skills.
Dalot will need help from his right winger otherwise it could be a long night for the Portuguese against the former United attacker.
Man United predicted starting lineup: Onana; Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Amrabat; Casemiro, Mount; Rashford, Fernandes, Garnacho; Hojlund.
Galatasaray predicted starting lineup: Muslera; Boey, Sanchez, Ayhan, Tasende; Torreira, Demirbay; Tete, Mertens, Zaha; Icardi.