Sub-plot English clubs did not exactly cover themselves in glory in the Champions League last week, albeit against two of Europe’s best sides (City and Arsenal lost 2-0 to Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively), but United have the chance to build on a quietly impressive, and unbeaten, qualifying campaign.
The manager Michel, the former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Benfica midfielder who also won 66 caps for Spain in the 80s and 90s, took over at Olympiacos 12 months ago. The 50-year-old guided his new employers to their 40th league title and will be keen to see them through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for what would be only the second time.
Star man This would have been Konstantinos Mitroglou, except that the striker left for Fulham in the January transfer window having scored 17 goals for the Greek side this season. Michael Olaitan could be the main threat if Saviola fails to recover from his thigh injury, while Marko Scepovic, who bagged a hat-trick at the weekend, is ineligible. Ex-United keeper Roy Carroll is also with the Greek outfit, but is unlikely to start.
Whistle-blower Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi officiated United's 1-0 win over Bursaspor at Old Trafford in October 2010.