Man Utd v Galatasaray preview
Red Devils welcome Turkish giants to Old Trafford
Last Updated: 19/09/12 11:11am
Sir Alex Ferguson: The United boss is taking this year's competition far more seriously
Manchester United begin a record 17th consecutive Champions League campaign at home to Galatasaray hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's catastrophe when they were knocked out in the group stage.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has already asserted there will be no repeat this year highlighting United's defence as being the key to improving their chronic group stage form at Old Trafford.
The Scot openly confessed to having seriously misjudged last season's competition, in which he experimented with line-ups and rested key players.
But this time Ferguson is expected to field his strongest side against the Turkish champions in their Group H opener as he retains a burning ambition to lead United to what would be a fourth European crown at Wembley.
The Old Trafford giants will hope to improve on their recent poor form in Europe however, having recorded just three wins out of their last 11 matches, and losing four of their last five.
Galatasaray are marking a return to Europe's elite competition for the first time in five years.
And they get set to take on United having made an excellent start to their domestic season, winning three of their opening four matches.
Head coach Fatih Terim has called on his side to show the kind of spirit which saw the Turks knock United out of the competition nearly 19 years ago to the day.
A memorable 3-3 home draw was followed by a goalless stalemate at Old Trafford, which was enough to knock the Red Devils out of the Champions League on away goals.
Although former Turkey coach Terim believes his side are capable of repeating that upset, he is well aware it will be a difficult test.
"I don't need to tell you how Manchester United are a big club," he said.
"We respect them but we don't fear them. We are going to England for a good result.
"Years ago we made history against them. I believe Galatasaray can repeat that success."
Robin van Persie has made a superb start to life at Old Trafford and the mere fact he was left out of the United starting line-up for their weekend win over Wigan proves how seriously Ferguson is taking Europe's group stage this term.
Full-back Patrice Evra is in line for a return to the starting line-up after he was forced to miss Saturday's 4-0 win with a minor knock suffered on international duty.
David De Gea may also be recalled between the posts ahead of Anders Lindegaard.
Antonio Valencia and summer signing Shinji Kagawa are also expected to be given the nod, while Tom Cleverley and Jonny Evans may also return to the action.
With the exception of Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, United look like being at full strength.
The Istanbul side could field four players with English league experience.
Spanish winger Albert Riera played for United's rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
Defender Emmanuel Eboue, once of Arsenal, could also feature, along with former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros.
Fellow striker Johan Elmander, who spent three seasons at Bolton, was Galatasaray's top scorer when they won the title last season.
The visitors will be without injured central defender Tomas Ujfalusi and right back Sabri Sarioglu.
Umut Bulut, who has scored five goals in four league games this season, is set to partner Elmander in attack.
Meanwhile, Brazil international midfielder Felipe Melo - on loan from Juventus - is expected to be fit after a minor injury.
- Last season, Manchester Utd failed to make it past the group stages for the first time since 2005/06.
- Manchester Utd have lost only two of their last 56 Champions League games at home.
- The two Champions League encounters between Manchester Utd and Galatasaray at Old Trafford have produced 10 goals.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 De Gea
- 2 Rafael
- 12 Smalling
- 6 Evans
- 3 Evra
- 4 Jones
- 23 Cleverley
- 25 Valencia
- 10 Rooney
- 44 Januzaj
- 19 Welbeck
Team taken from Manchester United vs West Ham United (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 21st December 2013