Actual Score: 1 – 0
Manchester United missed many opportunities which would make it 3-0 or 4-0.
Predicted Score: 2 – 0
Sir Alex Ferguson has almost a full-strength squad to choose from for Manchester United’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Arsenal.
Only Gary Neville is missing after injuring his foot last week but John O’Shea is fit and could start at right-back at Old Trafford ahead of 18-year-old Brazilian Rafael.
Ferguson’s main dilemma will be how attacking to make his starting line-up – in the second half against Tottenham on Saturday Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo all played together.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Ferguson has admitted he may be tempting fate, but he has his eyes fixed on creating another chapter of footballing history.
In the euphoria of the Champions League final victory over Chelsea in Moscow last year, it was pointed out to Ferguson that no team has managed to retain the trophy since it changed from the European Cup.
Milan, Ajax and Juventus were all beaten finalists in the mid 90s a year after becoming European champions, but no side have managed to go one better.
Yet it was in Moscow, with the celebratory bubbly still fizzing in his glass, that Ferguson started to turn his mind to a successful European title defence.
”When we won it in Moscow the point was made in the press conference about no side having ever retained the cup in the Champions League format,” he said. ”I didn’t know that was the case at the time, but you say to yourself it would be great if we could be the first do that. We are good at winning things for the first time and maybe that is a good omen for us.
”Talk is cheap, but faint heart never won fair lady and it’s something I would dearly love to do.
”Some might say I am tempting fate but at Old Trafford we have always set our sights high.”
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs is a major doubt for the trip north.
Gibbs is struggling with an ankle injury, while his likely replacement Mikael Silvestre is not certain to be involved either as he tries to shake off a back complaint.
Captain Cesc Fabregas (ankle/knee) and defender Johan Djourou (knee) also got through training this morning but leading scorer Robin van Persie (groin) and left-back Gael Clichy (back) remain sidelined, while Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin is ineligible. Centre-half William Gallas (knee) and long-term absentee Tomas Rosicky will miss the rest of the campaign.
Gunners striker Emmanuel Adebayor is focused on silencing the Old Trafford boo-boys with another crucial European away goal on Wednesday night.
The 25-year-old has shrugged off a hamstring problem and will be fresh to face the Red Devils after starting on the bench for the win over Middlesbrough on Sunday, which saw the Gunners extend their unbeaten league run to 20 matches.
The Togo striker netted a magnificent scissor-kick to secure an away goal against Villarreal in the last round and would like nothing more than to grab another in United’s own backyard.
”When you get onto the pitch the people around will be singing against you, they will be hating you, and that can give you more motivation,” Adebayor who scored in the league at Old Trafford last season and bagged the winner there in September 2006, told Arsenal TV Online.
”I know they do not like me there because I managed to get a goal, and you just feel like ‘Okay, I will show you again how good I am.’
”In three games there I have scored two goals and I know it will not be easy to get another one, but I will give 100%, to do everything it takes to score or to help my team win the game.” [soccernet.com]