We’ve been here before with French opposition and were duly dumped out of the quarter finals by Monaco in 97/98 so we will be looking to avoid a similar fate. Ryan Giggs has already assured fans that we won’t be seeing a repeat performance and we have every reason to believe him.
A number of players are returning from injury in time for the game and coming into the game off the back of a moral boosting victory over Arsenal at the weekend, we should be optimistic.
Rio Ferdinand is still absent (getting tired of typing that!) so Smalling will continue in defence but the question is alongside who? There has been mixed news on Nemanja Vidic who missed training yesterday with a knock but is apparently available as well as Michael Carrick, Michael Owen and Nani. Following his return at the weekend, Antonio Valencia is likely to play some part too as Sir Alex weighs up whether to start the winger or continue to use him in the capacity he was used at the weekend, as a substitute.
Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans, Anderson and Park Ji-sung are set to miss out whilst Owen Hargreaves is ineligible despite resuming training having been removed from the European squad .
Marseille can welcome both Mattieu Valbuena and André-Pierre Gignac who were classed as doubtful for the first leg and whilst Valbuena made a 10 minute cameo, Gignac missed the game completely so both will provide a massive boost to their chances playing from the start.
Since our last meeting things kind of went pear shaped, a 4-0 hammering of Wigan preceded losses to both Chelsea and Liverpool in the league but United have got back on track with a 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday in the FA Cup whilst Marseille have lost just once in the 3 games since our meeting in February with Ligue 1 leaders Lille taking a 2-1 victory via a wonder goal from Edwn Hazard and a last minute effort from Pierre Alain Frau but they too will be coming into the tie with a victory having beaten Rennes on Friday.
We last faced Marseille at Old Trafford in Spetember 1999 and came off pretty pleased with the result as an over head kick from Andy Cole and a bundled effort from Paul Scholes late on cancelled out former Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko’s opener.
Edwin Van der Sar is set to make his 50th CL appearance for Manchester United with 26 clean sheets n his 49 appearances.
Man United are undefeated in the last 11 knockout stage games at Old Trafford with 10 wins and a draw.
No French side has won at Old Trafford with 4 draws and 8 defeats .
United looked good against Arsenal at the weekend and if I was a betting man I would put money on a United win against Marseille. The returns of players like Nani as well as Valencia will be a massive boost and if Vidic plays alongside Smalling I don’t see Marseille’s attack having any joy.
Andre Ayew looked good last time out so we will need to keep an eye on him but if Valencia is playing he will provide extra cover on that wing whilst he should have joy against the poor Taye Taiwo who will apparently play at left back.