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P.J. Murray 6th Dec 2011 - 16:01

Can United avoid a Basels Up

All Alex Fergusons's side need to do to progress is avoid defeat, something which they have managed to avoid in their last eight Champions League games.

If Ashley Young had never scored his last minute equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Old Trafford when these sides first met, there would be a very different attitude towards this game.

The Red Devils (8/13) are going to be somewhat blunted up front with Rooney and Wellbeck the most likely attacking partnership as Berbatov and Owen are both out injured along with Javier Hernandez.

Their away form in Europe over the years has been quite good, United have lost just one of their last 25 Champions League away games and only conceded once in their last eight.

The three Champions League meetings between Basel and Manchester United have seen three players score braces: Ruud van Nistelrooy, Danny Welbeck and Alexander Frei.

Phil Jones could retain his midfield berth after his goal secured a much needed 1-0 win away to Aston Villa at the weekend. The versatile defender could be looking for his first Champions League goal and he is 25/1 to score first and 8/1 to bag a goal at anytime.

United's nemesis Alexander Frei is 9/1 to open the scoring and 10/3 for an anytime goal, he is also 14/1 to replicate his feat from the last meeting of the sides and scoring two or more goals.

Basel (5/1) were unlucky not to claim all three points at Old Trafford and will certainly be out for revenge. A win would see them through to the next round and depending on the result in the other game they may qualify as winners.

Man United don't really panic and they are a team who will go about their business, they obviously won't be playing for a draw, but I suspect at 13/5 the draw is where the majority of the money will be going. The double result of draw/draw at 5/1 could be very tempting.

Basel will want to keep things tight, especially in the opening periods and Korean defender Park Joo-ho will be looking to replicate his form when he gained the admiration on Man Utd's Ji Sung Park.

However there have been twelve goals scored in the last three games between these two sides, at 21/10 over 3.5 could be a good bet and a correct score of 2-2 at 16/1. At 5/6, I would be backing the time of the first Basel goal to be after the 16th minute, for a somewhat out there punt.


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