Monday, March 31, 2008

Rampant Reds must be wary of Roma...

United brimming with confidence after some recent thumping wins on the domestic front take on AS Roma in the eternal city on Tuesday night in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter final. Fergie and his players' will fancy the task having had much the better of the Romans' in recent encounters, but United lost the first-leg of last seasons quarter-final in the same venue when going down to the odd goal in three, but then went on to thrash Spalletti's team in the return leg. The Reds have played Roma twice already in this season’s competition and they haven’t been beaten, winning the first-leg one-nil and drawing the second 1-1.

Until their clash with Cagliari that ended 1-1, Roma had knocked in nine from four without reply. However, at the weekend several key players were missing from their starting line-up due to suspensions. To add to Roma's problems, their talisman, Totti, who played the whole game, but later complained of a 'thigh injury' that makes him an 'injury doubt' ahead of what is a massive game in the Olympic stadium.

Ferguson wont be distracted any smoke and mirror tactics leading up to this clash and United will hopefully be only too wary of what happened when Roma came to Old Trafford last season with a devil may care attitude with a slim 2-1 advantage - they were given a hiding that they will never forget with the Reds winning 7-1. United while they are riding high on the back of the goal-fests against Villa and Liverpool they must not allow themselves to be over-confident, nor sloppy at the back.

There must be a strong temptation to start the match in Rome with the same team that hammered Aston Villa, but that is unlikely to happen. Fergie will probably start the match with a 4-3-3/4-5-1 line-up with Tevez and Scholes being left on the bench and Anderson and Hargreaves or Carrick coming into the starting eleven. That said there is an argument for pairing Tevez and Rooney again, but my gut feeling is the Scot won’t do that until later in the game.

United must go to Rome with a view to winning the tie at Old Trafford, that means scoring at least one away goal and hopefully not getting beaten on Tuesday. If United are solid at the back over both legs of this quarter final - as they have been pretty much all season - then there's every reason to be confident of reaching another semi-final.

As ever there will no doubt be a great deal of focus regarding off-the-field matters where visiting supporters are concerned. It is to be hoped that the joke that is the Rome police force will not once again end up in the spotlight for either handing out indiscriminate beatings to United supporters and inaction where the Roma fans are concerned.

1 comment:

  1. I agree and think that Fergie will start the game with the 4-5-1 formation. I do like that formation but think it only works when ronaldo and Nani are the wingers. When Giggs is one of them we seem to get too defensive and lack the creativity up-front to trouble the top sides in Europe.

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