Manchester United will kick off their 2012-13 UEFA Champions League campaign Wednesday evening when they take on Turkish club Galatasaray.
The Premier League giants will be looking for a better performance from their European campaign than last year, when they were sensationally dumped from the competition in the group stages—failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.
The home side will welcome back a number of key players, so read on to find all the last-minute team news and details for this Champions League fixture.
Having rested both Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie from their starting side on the weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to bring both internationals back into the fray, stating that the experience and talent they bring to the European competition is invaluable to the Red Devils (per BBC Sport).
"Robin has the experience of playing in Europe with Arsenal. ... Shinji is the type of player who will thrive in Europe, where possession is key."
Both summer signings have been superb so far this year, but each picked up injuries while away on international duty last week. Ferguson's decision to rest the pair against Wigan Athletic showed exactly how focused and determined he is to perform well in the Champions League this time around.
Winger Antonio Valencia will make his way back into the team on the right flank—pushing Nani to the left flank, although Sir Alex Ferguson does have a couple of options he could use. Ryan Giggs, Anderson and potentially even young left-back Alexander Buttner could all feature down the left if required.
BBC Sport also speculates that Darren Fletcher could be a potential inclusion by the veteran manager, after the midfielder played a full 90 minutes for the reserves and took part in training this week. Fletcher has not played since November 2011 due to a bowel condition.
United are also presented with a problem (the good kind) at left-back, with French international Patrice Evra likely to be healthy and available for selection. (The Daily Mirror)
The 31-year-old did not feature against the Lactics last weekend and his replacement—summer signing Buttner—had a superb debut game for the Red Devils, picking up a goal and an assist and shutting down everything that came his way in defense.
Anders Lindergaard and David de Gea seemed locked in battle again for the starting position in goal for United after the Spanish international was dropped for Lindergaard, who was strong for the Red Devils last week.
Ferguson told Sky Sports (h/t Goal) that he was comfortable rotating the two throughout the season and that nothing should be read into him choosing one over the other—it's just the way he will use the pair this year.
That's the policy we've adopted this season and last season, although De Gea played most of last season after Lindegaard was injured. I'm comfortable with this situation.
Alternating isn't a problem for me. They're both equally very good goalkeepers. The most important thing I'm trying to do is give both of them experience in the English game—neither is as experienced as Edwin van der Sar or Peter Schmeichel.
Potential Starting XI
With that all in mind, let's try and put together a potential starting side we could see from Manchester United against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
I'm going with Lindergaard in goal, as the Dane is yet to concede a goal for the club at Old Trafford (according to Goal). He was solid against Wigan, and should do enough to keep the Turkish giants at bay in this one.
Evra will reclaim his place in the back four, with Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Rafael to also feature in the Red Devils' back line.
I think Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick start, though the former of the pair is likely to be a second-half substitution for Darren Fletcher, depending on how the match is going. Nani, Kagawa and Valencia will round out United's midfield.
Van Persie will lead the line for the Red Devils.
What team do you think Manchester United will line up vs. Galatasaray?
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