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Manchester United v Otelul Galati Preview: A Comfortable Home Win Awaits!

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Manchester United play Romanian Champions Otelul Galati tonight in both team’s fourth match of this year’s Champions League group stage. It will no doubt be a game United on paper should be winning and one that Sir Alex Ferguson will be demanding a win from too.

Very little was known about Galati until this year when due to the UEFA league coefficients, it was confirmed that the club no-one had heard of, had made it into the group-stages of the world’s most iconic club competition after winning the Romanian title last season.

The club managed by former Romanian star Dorinel Munteanu – who famously scored for Romania against England in Euro 2000 – have come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and are playing in the Champions League for the first time in their 47-year history.

The Romanian champions currently sit bottom of the group having lost their opening three matches and could be knocked out (unable to qualify for the second round) if they lose to United tonight. It’s been a tough season for Galati who have had to put up with more pressure as a result of their success last year and they currently sit 8th in the Romania league, partly due to their European exploits and extra expectation on them to win this season.

United will be looking to win the game and get their second win on the board in this season’s competition. A point away in Lisbon against Benfica was a good result but a 3-3 draw against Basel was far from acceptable. A professional performance away in Bucharest saw them win but tonight they will be expected to win and win heavily. Dropping points tonight will be a big no-no!

So what can we expect from tonight’s game. What will be the key battles on the pitch?

Jonny Evans v Marius Pena

It’s fair to say that Jonny Evans has not had a great start to the season. Despite being a talented defender who already has lots of big-game experience under his belt, he has struggled this season looking very shaky, which culminated in his sending-off against Manchester City which was the trigger point for United to lose that game.

Sir Alex Ferguson is standing by him though and that’s a great tonic for Evans who now has to go out and prove the manager right. Despite not being the quickest of defenders, he’s brave and should be able to deal with Galati’s striker Marius Pena who scored the club’s first goal ever in the competition in their opening match-day defeat away to Basel.

Darren Fletcher v Gabriel Giurgiu

Scotland’s captain Darren Fletcher has had an interesting start to the season. Whilst it’s been good to see the reliable midfielder back in the heart of United’s midfield, he still doesn’t quite look 100%, but then again maybe due to the illness he had last season, he might not ever be back to the form he was in before.

Alike Evans he was criticised for his performance at home to City in the Manchester Derby in which Roberto Mancini’s ran riot in. Fletcher though has came back from setbacks before and did ok at the weekend versus Everton. Gabriel Giurgiu will want to make him have a troublesome night though and has a good reputation for enjoying the odd tackle or two.

Wayne Rooney v Zoran Ljubinkovic

At the weekend Wayne Rooney for once had a quiet game against his old side Everton. But make no mistake about it, if he starts tonight he will more than likely have lots of chances to score. Since United’s 3-1 home league win againgst Chelsea he’s only scored two goals. Both of them were second-half penalties in Bucharest which saw Galati beaten 2-0

Galati’s defence will know all about him and you can guarantee that they will try and frustrate him, not letting him settle on the ball and lead United’s attack. Serbian defender Zoran Ljubinkovic will probably be given the task of trying to stop our star striker and will no doubt if his Serbian defenders are to go by will make his presence felt not that Rooney will be intimidated by anybody.

In terms of a prediction for the game tonight, as I stated earlier on in a predictions article at the start of the month, I believe United will win 3-0. Galati will be out to make life tough and will not want the game to be an open one as they know they will cut to pieces.

They will want to prove themselves against United and this is a big-deal for Romanian football and its football fans. Some of Galati’s players will be aiming to impress with the whole of Europe watching them and will want to play well to put themselves in the shop window.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87