Olympiakos may have lost star striker Kostas Mitroglou to Fulham during the transfer window, but they will not fear the English Champions in Greece. They are flawless at home in the league, winning every game, scoring 43 goals and only conceding six. Therefore, their high position allows them to rest several key players for this Champions League clash. The biggest concern for manager Michel is who to field upfront. Ex-Barcelona striker Javier Saviola picked up an injury during the weekend, and hat-trick hero Marko Scepovic is ineligible for the tie. Michael Olaitan should lead the line, supported by Alejandro Dominguez ‘in the hole’.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Fletcher, Valencia, Januzaj, Rooney, Van Persie
The Red Devils will be without the services of Juan Mata, who is cup-tied after previously featuring for Chelsea in the competition. United have had an under par season thus far, and David Moyes will be under pressure to get United into the quarter-finals, with reclaiming the Premier League title all but over. The return of Marouane Fellaini was a huge boost in their away win at Crystal Palace during the weekend, adding some grit to the midfield. Moyes’ lineup will be interesting – the Scot has no experience in the Champions League knock-out stage – but in previous years United were solid away and the same approach will be expected.
With Saviola out, Man United have an easier job to kill off Olympiakos in the first leg…
— Mohammed Patel (@momar88) February 23, 2014
Olympiakos to beat man united?
— Ya Boy Bridgey (@bridgeman_bryan) February 23, 2014
Is now time for man united to focus on the champions league.We will beat olympiakos on tuesday and then west brom on Saturday.#GGMU
— NAPOLEON Y-ANDREWS (@Napo86Y) February 22, 2014
United went to Greece back in 2002, grabbing a win in a thrilling 3-2 encounter.
It will be no easy task for the Red Devils but if they are to come back with a positive result, the experience and guile of Wayne Rooney will be key.
Manchester Utd have won their four encounters with Olympiakos, all in the Champions League (12 goals for, 2 against).
Olympiakos are unbeaten in their last five home games against English clubs in the Champions League (4 wins, 1 draw). The last team from England to beat the Piraeus club on their own soil are Manchester Utd, back in October 2002.
Olympiakos hadn’t reached the knockout stages of the Champions League since 2009/10 when they were eventually knocked out by Bordeaux in the last 16.
This is the 16th time in the last 18 seasons that Manchester Utd have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League. The last time they went past the last 16 though was back in 2010/11 (beaten finalists v Barcelona).
Olympiakos have won six of their last eight home games in the Champions League and have never failed to score in those eight games.
Olympiakos have picked up 17 cards (all yellows), the most among the 16 remaining teams in the competition.
Olympiakos have faced two penalties in the Champions League this season but both have been saved by their goalkeeper, Roberto.
Manchester Utd are one of only three teams still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, alongside Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. They are the only side however yet to have trailed in the competition this season.
Manchester Utd have only conceded three goals in the Champions League this season, the best defensive tally alongside Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
Manchester Utd have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four Champions League games, the best current run in the competition.
Ryan Giggs (139 games) is only three games short of equalling Raul’s record of 142 appearances in the Champions League.
Wayne Rooney has scored two goals and delivered three assists in five Champions League games this season.