FC Basel vs Manchester United Preview: Reds looking to cement qualification

Manchester United are looking to maintain their 100% winning record in Group A of the Champions League.

FC Basel vs Manchester United Preview: Reds looking to cement qualification
Photo: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Coach Raphael Wicky looks for his team to bounce back to winnings ways and try to secure a qualifying spot for the knockout stages. The Swiss champs lost their recent Champions League game against CSKA Moscow 2-1, but sit 2nd in the group only on goal difference to the Russian side.

The Red Devils come into the game in hot form as they put four past Newcastle United last weekend winning 4-1. The Swiss team are also on a winning spell themselves after thumping FC Sion 5-1 in the Swiss Superleague. Going into matchday five it's clear who the favourites are, Manchester United, they hold a record of 10 goals in only four Champions League games, and have only conceded one against CSKA Moscow where they also won 4-1.   


Recent form:

FC Basel: WDLDW

Manchester United: WWWLW


Recent Champions League Record:

FC Basel's 1-2 CSKA Moscow  (Zuffi, Dzagoev, Wernbloom)

Man United 2-0 Benfica (Svilar og, Blind)

FC Basel sit ahead of CSKA Moscow in 2nd on goal difference as both teams are tied with six points. United only need a point to cement the top position in Group A to qualify through to the knockout stages, they’re on top with 12 points.

Last time both teams faced each other, United came out victorious on match day one 3-0, goals coming from Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford. Even though United were victorious last time, Reds boss José Mourinho wasn't quite happy with the style of football his team was playing after they went 2-0 up. Mourinho stated, "We stopped to play. Bad decisions, fantasy football, PlayStation football, too many unnecessary flicks and tricks." Not to mention United had lost their talisman Paul Pogba in the first game, who is back fit and is expected to start.

Team news

Chris Smalling starts against Basel but it remains who he will partner with, as Victor Lindelöf and Marcos Rojo are fit to play. Man United are still without Ivorian defender Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.

After Saturday's MOTM performance against Newcastle, Paul Pogba makes his return back to Champions League football after getting injured on matchday one against the Swiss side.

Mourinho says that Zlatan Ibrahimović will be on the bench and may feature for more than 15-20 minutes. Mourinho says that Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan can play up top together if needed and that they both bring different dimensions to the game, physically and mentally.

Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard is one booking away from a suspension. Basel will be without their main man, Taulant Xhaka, who’s suspended. Coach Raphael Wicky admitted: "we will miss him." Omar Gaber, Germano Vailati and Ricky van Wolfswinkel are also expected to be sidelined for the Swiss side.


Jose Mourinho’s pre-match conference

Jose Mourinho spoke to the media in Switzerland ahead of the game against Basel. Mourinho had his say on the state of the pitch. “It’s hard to know if the pitch is in good condition, we didn’t train on the field, so we will know when the game starts tomorrow. It looks good, hopefully, it can hold out for an entertaining game.”

Smalling was speaking to the media ahead of the game and told journalists what he thinks of the current crop at Manchester United, “I think it would strike fear into me if I was playing against United, and I think it strikes fear into most teams. We have so many options that no matter what game it is, we have three or four great players to bring.”

On the state of the pitch, Jose says the pitch is uncomparable to Rostov’s pitch, where United faced troubles on the field in last seasons Europa League campaign. “The pitch is uncomparable to Rostov’s, here I give respect in the effort to try and make a positive pitch after it was so bad in the playoffs for the national team.”