Revitalised Devils should extinguish Dragons’ fire
After a sensational comeback against Aston Villa at the weekend Sir Alex Ferguson's men go into this game full of confidence.
Were it not for unknown teenager Federico Macheda grabbing the last-gasp winner on Sunday the atmosphere at Old Trafford could've been very different for this quarter-final first leg match, but as it is the crowd should be rocking for what should be a routine win for United.
Porto are certainly no mugs - the 2004 Champions League winners are sitting four points clear of Sporting Lisbon at the top of the Portuguese Super Liga and look set to win their fourth consecutive title, but with Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic all set to return after their enforced absence the hosts should have more than enough to overcome the threat of Jesualdo Ferreira's side.
The home side are undefeated in 21 Champions League games, a competition record, since losing 3-0 to AC Milan in the 2007 semi-final, Milan went on to win the trophy. But the Reds have only won once in their last five Champions League fixtures, against Milan's great rivals Inter.
You can expect a few goals in this game - Porto haven't kept a clean in their last seven Champions League away matches and conceded four in their previous two visits to England, against Arsenal this campaign and in last year's competition against Liverpool.
United on the other hand have been watertight in this year's Champions League, keeping 11 clean sheets in 14 games and only conceding three along the way.
Unsurprisingly, given the fact that the Red Devils haven't lost at Old Trafford in 19 Champions League games, the home team are short price favourites for the game at 4/11. Man Utd/Man Utd in the double result might tempt you more though at 5/6. I'm sure none of us will forget the last time the two sides met in Manchester when José Mourinho ran down the touchline celebrating a last-minute equaliser. Can history repeat itself with another draw (minus Mourinho's antics of course!)? Odds of 11/4 suggest it's unlikely. What's even more unlikely is an away victory - Porto haven't won in England in 11 attempts and have lost ten of them, it's easy to see why the travelling side are 7/1 outsiders for this game.
Goals haven't flowed as often as United fans would've like this season, the home team have only scored 11 from their eight games, injured striker Dimitar Berbatov is their leading scorer with four to his name. Who can pick up the baton in his absence? Wayne Rooney has three goals from his eight Champions League matches and is a 4/1 shot to get the ball rolling in this game with the first of the night.
If anyone is going to make an impact for the visitors it will more than likely be Argentinean hit-man Lisandro Lopez, Porto's number nine has rattled in six goals already in this Champions League campaign and at 9/1 could be a cracking price for the first goal of the match and 10/3 to notch one at any point of the 90 minutes.
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