Fellaini plays for the shirt

Celtic’s fate last night provides a pertinent warning for United. Having scored three goals in the first leg, they went to Sweden are were sliced down cleanly as Malmo ran out two nil winners. The same result for United would be mean the end.

Louis van Gaal is unlikely to let his players be complacent but it is important to remember the job is only half done. If United can score a goal early, then Brugge will be in trouble. The longer the game remains scoreless though, the more their confidence will grow. We would also be advised against gifting them an early own-goal as we did last week.

LVG likely to play it safe and hold on to the lead. He would be mad to do anything else with so much at stake. The big interest is what he does with Marouane Fellaini. The big Belgian was sat besides him at the press conference and he may well start either ahead of or just behind Wayne Rooney.

More than one supporter pointed out that Fellaini would have been the ideal man to get on the end of some of United’s crosses during the frustration exercise against Newcastle on the weekend. Maybe tonight is his night.

If United can get that early goal and make the tie safe, the match could be an opportunity to get some goals in. They are sorely needed. It is getting hard to defend Rooney’s scoring record of late, despite the fact others such as Eden Hazard have also scored zero goals this term.

The other big question is do I buy the new Adidas United shirt? There is a part of me that says this will make me just another muppet consumer.

In one of my other jobs, I lecture on sports marketing. One of the central parts of the course is the difference between fans and customers. Fans will pay for the product no matter what, brand loyalty is on an entirely different level in the emotional realms of sport.

I try to avoid paying extra for things just because they have a brand name attached. In this case I might have to make an exception, the shirt is just so damn nice.

Besides, if Fellanin scores, it could become the new lucky garment.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

Follow Mark on www.twitter.com/markjpayne


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