Valbuena Will Be Key For Marseille At Old Trafford.
Marseille put in a fantastic performance to hold Manchester United at the Velodrome. If the reigning French champions were able to field their full strength squad tonight, they may have gone on to win this game pretty comfortably. Manchester United didn’t pass the ball well enough, and if it wasn’t for a few last ditch challenges and courageous blocks on the 18-yard line, United would have been taken apart tonight.
The upside, for Manchester United, is that it’s all going to be decided at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side haven’t lost at home all season, so I don’t think Marseille will be able to waltz in to Old Trafford and come away with a win – it just won’t be that easy. The thing is though, Marseille don’t actually have to win. A 1-1 draw, for example, puts them into the next round. They can focus on playing on the counter attack and I think that’s something they’ll be totally comfortable with. They’ve got lots of pace down the flanks with Mathieu Valbuena and Andre Ayew, and those two will be their outlets while they soak up the pressure of Manchester United’s relentless attack. They held firm at the back with almost no problem tonight, so there’s no reason why they can’t put in that kind of defensive display at Old Trafford.
Andre-Pierre Gignac and Mathieu Valbuena will return to the starting lineup for the return leg, and those two will be a huge boost for Marseille. Manchester United have it all to do at home, and although they’re always going to be favorites at Old Trafford, Marseille are definitely not out of this tie.
And as an aside – Darron Gibson? He’s got to go.