After a year away from Europe’s top table Manchester United return to the Champions League on Tuesday and welcome Swiss champions Basel to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s side have enjoyed a bright start to the new Premier League season and head into their Champions League opener unbeaten in four. Basel on the other hand have had a stuttering start to their title defence in the Swiss Super League. But despite that The Red Devils should not underestimate the Swiss side. Basel have a tendency to raise their game against the big clubs in Europe and will be no mugs on Tuesday.
The two sides have been drawn together for a third time in the Champions League group stages alongside Benfica and CSKA Moscow – Mourinho will be confident his side can top the group but it won’t be a given. United have have only managed to beat Basel once in four attempts and tricky away trips to Portugal and Russia could provide potential banana skins.
United should have enough class to overcome Basel on Tuesday. Mourinho rested a number of key players for their trip to Stoke including Juan Mata and Daley Blind, but will be without Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, who are suspended. That means Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof are likely start in the heart of defence.
The Swiss giants have assembled a squad with lots of European experience but lack any world class players. Premier League flop Ricky van Wolfswinkel is expected to lead the line and shouldn’t pose too many frets for United’s defence.
The Red Devils have been solid at the back this season and should be able to withstand everything Basel throw at them. At the other end of the pitch Lukaku is in excellent form and I fancy him to open the scoring at 13/5.
There’s not much value in United to win, they’re as short as 1/5 in places so United win to nil could be the bet at 8/11.