Manchester United vs. Galatasaray: Keys to Turkish Upset at Old Trafford
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Galatasaray have only lost one game against Manchester United—a 4-0 drubbing in 1994—but they've never beaten them, either. They will hope to go one better than their 1993 campaign, when 3-3 and 0-0 draws enabled them to progress via away goals.
Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young are absent for the hosts, but Robin van Persie is expected to start after being benched for the game against Wigan. United were disappointing in the Champions League last year, so will be anxious to do better this time around.
If Galatasaray are to leave Manchester with a win, they will need to play disciplined, organised football. The emphasis should still be on not conceding, but they definitely have enough talent to compete.
As with every game, there are certain factors crucial to the team's success.
İnan is the heart of Galatasaray's midfield, with play-making ability that enables him to run the game. If United underestimate their guests, İnan will punish them.
İnan has one league goal to his name this year, but has looked like he belongs on a team that he only joined in May last year.
The 27-year-old is a true defensive midfielder, able to switch from stout defence to quick offense, much like a basketball player on a fast break. He also poses a threat from set pieces, having notched up five goals from free kicks last year.
While he might not be as glamorous as some of the players on the field, İnan will bring consistency and authority to the Galatasaray team.
Contain Robin van Persie
Since he was benched for the Wigan game, van Persie will be expected to be fresh going into this fixture. With Rooney out, the Dutchman will be tasked with putting the game beyond Galatasaray.
It's possible that he will be up against his former Arsenal teammate Emmanuel Eboue, which may give the Turkish side a bit of an advantage. Eboue will have the most experience marking him and should be able to pass some of that knowledge on to his team.
If Galatasaray can frustrate van Persie and play a more physical game than he is used to, the striker is liable to drift in and out of the game.
Keeping close to him will be İnan, marshaling his team back on defensive duties and getting players behind the ball.
If he is denied space, van Persie could have a very long night.
It's easy to see this as a quick victory for United, but they are likely to be more cautious after last year. It's not likely to be a thrilling game, but the Turkish side will do more than shut up shop and pray for a draw.
If they can counter through İnan while keeping a solid defence, there's no reason why Galatasaray can't make something of this game.
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