2010-2011 Champions League Draw: Man Utd Brace For "Battle of Britain"
Manchester United was handed a fairly straight-forward group in yesterday's Champions League draw-- the Red Devils were drawn in Group C against Valencia (Spain), Rangers (Scotland), and Bursaspor (Turkey).
The Red Devils are most likely clear favourites in their group over a Valencia squad still coping from the losses of the two Davids [Silva and Villa], a Rangers club coping with massive debts, and a generally continental-untested Bursaspor side. Sir Alex Ferguson is surely happy with the draw from the competitive and emotional perspectives-- Group C is much easier on paper than the Real Madrid-AC Milan group (Group G) and the Inter-Werder-Tottenham group (Group A); and Ferguson will have a chance to manage against the club he played for in the 1960s.
Group C is by no means a walk-over group for Manchester United, but they should advance barring any disasters. Rangers will fancy their chances against a methodical Red Devils side over quicker sides; Valencia are hard to beat at the Mestalla; and long away trips [to Turkey] are aways though, but United has the quality to advance.
Win-win situation for the Scottish champions-- the club can ameliorate some of its £31M debts with its home fixture against Man Utd and has the ability to advance to the knockout stages because of the parity-laden nature of the group sans Man Utd.
Furthermore, the Glasgow faithful get to welcome back Sir Alex Ferguson to the team he supported as a boy and played for in the late 1960s.
'Gers have the squad to challenge for second-place honours, and at the least a third-place Europa League spot, but it's worth paying attention to how their squad translates their recent Scottish dominance to the continental stage. Rangers are a side that are still adjusting with the losses of Boyd, Thompson, and Wilson, and they'll need to put it together against their Group C foes.
Valencia is a very special and unique team-- it seems as though time and time again, they manage to win despite losing their best talent.
Los Che, led by Juan Manuel Mata in the midfield and a good cast of surrounding players, have the ability to challenge Manchester United for the top spot. La Mestalla is always a hard place to play at for opposing teams, and Valencia have the quality to steal points away from home.
Valencia plays cultured football and should fancy their chances of finishing second in Group C, but they will be challenged by Rangers and Bursaspor.
Surprise-package Bursaspor eked past Fenerbache in the Turkish Super Lig last season by one measly point, thanks to a very solid defense and versatile attackers-- surprisingly, they outshone, outscored, and out-defended the likes of Fenerbache, Galatasaray, and Besiktas and their superstars to the domestic title.
Led by defender Ali Tandoğan and striker Sercan Yıldırım, Bursapor is definitely capable of a surprise. They probably don't have enough, however, to topple Manchester United.