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Rupert Wyman 22nd Feb 2011 - 10:55

Rooney to fire United into last eight

Marseille v Man United, Wednesday 19:45, live on ITV1

Man United travel to France on Wednesday to start a crucial period which could define their season and show if they are genuine contenders in their bid for a treble.

The Red Devils next four fixtures are all away from home starting with Marseille in the Champions League, local derbies against Wigan and Liverpool before taking on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

If they can come out of those games unscathed their current odds of 25/1 for a repeat of their 1999 treble heroics are sure to tumble.  They are currently 6/1 third favourites to win their fourth European title.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be determined to get to the final this year, it will be held at Wembley the scene of United's first ever European Cup triumph in 1968. They beat Benfica 4-1 after extra time that night and Fergie would like to write his own piece of history at the new ground.  If you're hoping to get to the final it may be worthwhile saving up now, or backing a few winners, as the prices start from around £150.

United have a great away record in Europe recently losing just one of their last twenty away games and winning nine from their last ten, they are 11/10 to keep up that great form and win in France. Marseille are 13/5 whilst a draw is 11/5.

United are always a goalscoring threat and will be desperate for away goals to take back to Old Trafford. Marseille are tough opponents on home soil, they're unbeaten in twelve games, so will be confident of causing problems. That makes the enhanced price of 11/10 that both teams score in our Match Winner special look too good to miss.

Marseille should prove a tough test for United. They have already tasted success against English opposition this season when they beat Chelsea 1-0 at the Stade Velodrome.  United suffered the same  scoreline here in 1999. It's 15/2 that there is a repeat of that scoreline in this one.

They qualified well from the group with four wins from six games and will have outside hopes of lifting the Champions League trophy at Wembley in May. They are currently 125/1 shots.

United have a good record against French opposition, they have lost just two of twenty four games and if they can avoid defeat in this one they will be confident of qualifying for the next round. United are 2/9 to make the quarter-finals, Marseille can be backed at 3/1.

There will be a familiar face in the Marseille side as Gabriel Heinze lines up against his old team mates. Heinze was an excellent player for United but lost his place to Patrice Evra. It will be interesting to see what reaction he gets from the Old Trafford crowd in the second leg as he once demanded move from United to Liverpool, something that won't have gone down well with the United faithful.  He is 33/1 to score first in this game.

United have some injury concerns for the game and Anderson, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Jonny Evans and Michael Owen all miss out and won't travel.  Vidic and O'Shea are likely to make up the centre back pairing.  Vidic is always a threat from corners already has two goals to his name in 2011 and you can back him at a tempting 20/1 to score first.

Wayne Rooney is coming back to his best and United will be relying on him to fire if they're to progress without too many problems. I have a feeling he will get on the scoresheet in France and would even back him to score twice at 9/2.

As we saw at the San Siro last week emotions often run high in the Champions League as the stakes are so high. It's 15/4 that there is a red card in this match.

One market we offer is half-time correct score, if for example you fancy a tight affair but are wary of late goals you can back 0-0 at half-time at 13/8.

Overall I think this should be a highly entertaining game between two teams on good form. United will be looking to attack and get crucial away goals and that will lead to an open game. I'm going for United to win (11/10) and in the correct score market I would go for 2-1 to the visitors at 17/2.

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