Manchester United will be bidding to end a successful 2021-22 Champions League group-stage campaign on a positive note when they welcome Young Boys
Same as Chelsea, The Red Devils have already advanced to the round of 16 as Group F winners, while Young Boys can still finish third but need to win in Manchester and hope that Atalanta BC lose to Villarreal.
Clean sheets and control are top of Ralf Rangnick’s agenda at Manchester United and he should see his new charges achieve both in their final Champions League group-stage outing against Young Boys.
The ‘Rangnickification’ of Old Trafford began in earnest with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend and United’s interim head coach took great delight in both the result and shut out.
Visiting sides found it all too easy to breach the Red Devils under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – United kept only 25 clean sheets in 83 home games under the Norwegian. So their first home clean sheet since April was a good starting point for Rangnick, as was the high press and work rate his team demonstrated in the first half against Palace.
Having averaged four turnovers per game in the final third this season before Rangnick’s arrival, United won possession 12 times in that area of the field on Sunday – their highest tally in any game since the halcyon days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
All metrics pointed towards a United team working hard for their new manager and although they weren’t able to sustain their efforts for 90 minutes, it was a positive start.
United will again hope to impress against Swiss visitors Young Boys, even though they have already sewn up top spot in Group F.
With six Premier League games to come in a 24-day period after Wednesday’s match, Rangnick says he’ll rotate his side and has plenty of options at his disposal, even though the likes of Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane are still absent.
The same can’t be said for a Young Boys side beset by injuries to key players, with goalkeeper David von Ballmoos and last season’s top scorer Jean-Pierre Nsame among those currently unavailable to head coach David Wagner.
The depleted visitors do have something to play for as they could snatch a Europa League berth with victory, but they’re rounding out 2021 with a whimper, winning just two of their last 11 matches.
Their two group games on the road have yielded no points or goals and they could be overwhelmed by a reinvigorated United.
Rangnick will have few concerns about his frontline’s ability to hurt Young Boys – United having scored at least twice in their last four Champions League outings – with more emphasis likely to be placed on keeping back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since March.
Odds via BestofBets.com
Manchester United – 4/11
Draw – 4/1
Young Boys – 7/1