Otelul Gelati vs. Manchester United: Champions League Preview and Team Lineups

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IOctober 17, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14:  Sir Alex Ferguson, Dimitar Berbartov, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen of Manchester United launch the Betfair Goal Challenge as part of Betfair's new partnership with Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 14 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson adopted a rather cautious approach in the first half at Anfield and, as the game progressed, he planned on bringing on some of the quality attacking players he had benched in the game.

However, with the Red Devils chasing the game following a goal from a Steven Gerrard free kick, Ferguson brought on Wayne Rooney, Nani and Javier Hernandez, and the latter scored the equalizer.

Though they remained unbeaten since the start of the season, Ferguson would not have been very pleased with only a point—especially as it meant that Manchester City would have moved to the top of the table after their thumping and thrashing of Aston Villa.

The long-serving manager has always had the desire to be at the top, and he will certainly not envisage the situation of City beating United to the league title.

Ferguson has always been a tough and brilliant manager, and with the Manchester derby coming up in the next week, he will expect nothing less than a win in the midweek Champions League encounter against tournament newcomers Otelul Galati.

Though United will be traveling to Romania, they will most certainly be the favorites for the encounter, and they do need the three points considering that they have only drawn the previous two games in their group against Benfica and FC Basel.

However, it could be a tricky decision for Sir Alex Ferguson regarding his team selection, because he will need his players to be fresh for what could be a very exciting Manchester derby at the weekend and could rest players for the trip.

He could provide opportunities to players who want to push for a place in the starting 11, though playing these players together also presents the risk of United not winning the game, as they should in order to ensure a safe progress.

Romanian club Otelul Galati are a club which is run efficiently, and they have an able manager in Dorinel Munteanu, who was one of Romania's best players during his playing career.

After a few failed stints with some clubs, Munteanu was offered the job at Otelul Galati, where he has proven his quality as a manager. He helped them win the title last season, which will go down as one of their best moments ever.

It is a special occasion for them to play Manchester United in the Champions League, and Munteanu's players will certainly produce their best efforts to salvage a win against Manchester United, who are yet to win in this year's competition.


Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson adopted a rather cautious approach for the first 60 minutes against Liverpool before bringing on Wayne Rooney, Luis Nani and Javier Hernandez for the final minutes of the game.

However, against a weaker opposition like Otelul Galati, it is expected that he will adopt an attacking lineup, because they do need the points in order to ensure a safe passage to the Round of 16 in the Champions League.

Defender Rio Ferdinand, who has had injury problems in recent years, is not likely to be a part of the team after playing the full game against Liverpool, as he needs to be fit for the important Manchester derby.

The good news for United is that Nemanja Vidic is likely to make his first appearance for United after his injury—a huge boost for the Red Devils.

Also, Phil Jones has recovered completely from the knock he sustained against Liverpool, but Tom Cleverley is still not completely fit, though he is close to making a recovery. It is likely that Ferguson might rest some players for this fixture, because he needs his players to be fresh for the derby as well.


Predicted Line-Up

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 27:  Nemanja Vidic #15 of the Manchester United celebrates with the trophy after defeating the MLS All-Stars 4-0 during the MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena on July 27, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Image
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Anders Lindegaard, Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones, Jonathan Evans, Patrice Evra, Anderson, Michael Carrick, Luis Nani, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez


Otelul Galati

Otelul Galati have the home advantage in this game, which is important because it is not an easy place for the away side, and they need the support to build momentum in this tough game.

Manchester United will be the club's toughest game that they have played until now, and the players will need to concentrate throughout the game. Any errors will be capitalized upon by Manchester United's quality players.

Despite Otelul Galati playing at home, they will be the underdogs in this game because of the quality of the Red Devils.

Manager Munteanu, who has plenty of experience, will ask his team to play at their best without being daunted by the opposition. It is a huge experience for his team to play in the Champions League, and playing against United will help them improve along the way.

Otelul Galati proved that they were no pushovers in the games against Basel and Benfica, both of which they lost narrowly.

Another loss against United would almost certainly mean that they will be eliminated from the Champions League, but a third-place finish would provide them an entry to the Europa League. Any points that they can get is very useful to the team.


Predicted Line-Up 

Branko Grahovac, Nejc Skubic, Sergiu Costin, Milan Perendija, Adrian Salageanu, Ioan Filip, Gabriel Giurgiu,Liviu Antal, Marius Pena, Laurentiu Bus, John Ike Ibeh



Though Manchester United might not play their first-choice team for the game against Otelul Galati, they should still prove too strong for their opponent.

Also, they have a strong squad, and the players who start the game will be trying to prove their quality to the manager. With Nemanja Vidic also returning for United, they will hope to keep a clean sheet against Otelul Galati

Otelul Galati 0-4 Manchester United