The match at Old Trafford tonight is, by Louis van Gaal’s admission, the biggest of his tenure so far. The amount resting on this game from a financial point of view alone is staggering, with 35 million pounds plus available to those in the group stages. Additionally, United’s lucrative sponsorship deals are thought to include clauses about success. This is the moment.
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Can they score?
“Manchester United always score,” said Clive Tyldesley just before United’s immortal moment. The match against Brugge will be United’s first Champions League qualifier since the 1998/99 season and their most important match for 18 months.
The problem is, United have been goal-shy of late. Two one nil victories in the league have put six points on the board, but in a two-legged match, one zero is far too precarious a score. If the side have a less than decisive result in the first leg, an air of tension will hang over the club in the interim. Van Gaal needs his team to attack tonight.
Does Januzaj keep his place?
Anybody watching the reds during David Moyes’s season could see that Januzaj was the real thing. A graceful and deft player with an ability to slice open a team with a body swerve or a change of pace.
“He has the key to unlock a team” said Graeme Souness about Januzaj at the weekend. With Angel di Maria gone and Rooney struggling for form, Januzaj is United’s most potent weapon at the moment.
Schweinsteger to start
The big German has been brought in to add experience and a winning mentality to the squad. There is no chance he would have signed for United if Champions League football was not on offer. Putting him on the field from the outset would calm some of the younger heads and make them feel like they belong there.
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