Predicted XI: Olympiacos vs Manchester United – Kagawa controversially left out

Predicted XI: Olympiacos vs Manchester United – Kagawa controversially left out

David de Gea – No brainer.

Rafael – A return to training for Rafael means he is in contention to start this fixture, something that would enable Chris Smalling to move inside to a more central position.

Chris Smalling – Smalling should be able to shift back to his more comfortable centre-back position on Tuesday, especially with Jonny Evans and Phil Jones set to continue to miss out due to injury.

Nemanja Vidic – Vidic is more likely than Rio Ferdinand to manage two games in four days and thus is expected to retain his place over the Englishman for Olympiacos.

Patrice Evra  – A more contained and assured performance from the Frenchman at the weekend came at an ideal time, as his leadership will be necessary in Greece.

olympiacos-away-25-feb

Antonio Valencia Juan Mata is cup-tied so Valencia can be expected to make his sixth Champions League start of the season.

Michael Carrick – United’s number one midfielder is not the 100% certainty to start he usually is because of the return from injury of Marouane Fellaini and increased options in the middle. Nevertheless it would be a surprise not to see Carrick named in the line-up.

Marouane Fellaini – A decent performance on his return against Crystal Palace means the Belgian will be favourite to start against Olympiacos but Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher and especially Tom Cleverley will be challenging him for a spot.

Ashley Young – Before United’s warm-weather training break, Young was experiencing some improved form and is thus likely to replace the more inexperienced Adnan Januzaj, who is yet to feature in an away game in Europe.

Wayne Rooney – The defensive work-rate of Rooney means David Moyes can afford to play two strikers, even in an away Champions League fixture.

Robin van Persie – The Dutchman is set to start this fixture, although it would not be a surprise to see him replaced by Javier Hernandez during the second half.

Formation: 4-4-1-1

This is set to be only the second game in Europe this season Shinji Kagawa will not start. Improved form of Ashley Young on the left-side, the fitness and availability of Rooney and Van Persie, and the lack of game-time for Kagawa will probably all contribute to this decision.

Despite rumours that Fellaini is set to start a second game in a row, Cleverley may feel disappointed to miss out on a place in the starting XI. The young Englishman is an energetic facilitator that may prove useful in a game such as this, and he and Ryan Giggs will both be pushing Carrick and Fellaini for their sports.

Image: Twitter/UEFA

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About The Author

Tom has a degree in Politics & Economics. He was previously sports editor of a student newspaper and is now working in the charity sector.