Manchester United vs FC Basel preview, betting tips and prediction: Unitrd could find it tough to break Swiss wallPublished September 7, 2017
Manchester United with a -2 handicap @ 15/8 with Betfair
Manchester United to win and BTTS @ 2/1 with Betfair
Draw HT/Manchester United FT @ 3/1 with Betfair
Manchester United are showing early signs of a return to their best under Jose Mourinho this season, winning their first three Premier League games without conceding a goal. They must be pleased with their group, given how tough Spurs’ is for example. But FC Basel may provide a tougher test than many believe, especially due to their history with Manchester United and Mourinho.
In the 2011/12, a defeat in Switzerland condemned United to a place in the Europa League as the missed out on the knockout stages. Two years later, they beat Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, convincing the Portuguese to sign their star man Mohamed Salah. Basel are also an experienced side at this level, and will be clever enough to know how to frustrate their opponents. Last season, though, they would have been easier to contain. Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions, United found goals tough to come by elsewhere on the pitch. Paul Pogba has begun to come out of his shell and play more of a role in attack, while Romelu Lukaku has hit the ground running, scoring three goals in four games since his summer move from Everton.
Form would suggest United are capable of blowing Basel away after beating West Ham and Swansea 4-0 and Leicester 2-0 in the Premier League. It would therefore make 15/8 a good price for our primary betting tip of a -2 handicap, but it could go the other way. Basel will look to slow them down at every turn, shutting the middle of the park and frustrating Pogba for that reason. Mourinho would be recommended to start the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, players who can run with the ball at pace and have the confidence to beat a man. Fans must be aware it could take time to break down such an organised outfit, who only conceded 35 goals on their way to the Swiss League title last season. It could take until the second half for the game to open up, making 3/1 a worthwhile price.
Key battle: Serey Die vs Paul Pogba
Watching Manchester United right now, it may seem like the main man to stop is Romelu Lukaku, given his goal record. But Pogba has been a revelation since Nemanja Matic signed from Chelsea this summer. His energy levels are up and he has more freedom to stretch his legs and get forward to join Lukaku. Their relationship has been crucial to United being better in attack, and it will be down to Die to monitor it in this clash.
Further forward, if Die can supply former Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Basel could get some opportunities, but United have not conceded yet this season and focussing on keeping Pogba in check is more crucial to staying in the game. The longer it goes on, the more the visitors will grow in confidence.