United’s narrow home win over CSKA in their last Champions League game means they now top Group B with seven points, though PSV and Wolfsburg are just a point behind in what has proved to be the most competitive group in this season’s competition.
United didn’t compete in Europe last season but their home record this term and in 2013/14 is a formidable W6-D1-L0, with four of these wins without conceding but just two by more than one goal. That’s in keeping with the majority of their performances this year as they’ve proven to be effective but unspectacular. We have PSV ranked as the 46th best side in Europe and United’s home record in Europe against sides ranked between 25th and 65th since 2006/07 is an impressive W6-D1-L0, though it’s important to note that only one of those games was in the last five years.
While PSV have won both their home games in this Champions League campaign, they’ve lost both their away games against CSKA and Wolfsburg but nonetheless are faring relatively well in their first Champions League group campaign since 2008/09. Their away record in Europe since 2012/13 is W3-D2-L7, with the most impressive of these results being a win over Napoli in the 2012/13 Europa League group stages. We have Man United ranked as the 14th best side in Europe and PSV’s record when travelling to sides ranked between 5th and 25th since 2007/08 is W1-D2-L7 as they trailed at half-time in seven of these games and seven also had at least three goals (five had at least four strikes).
United should welcome back Rooney and Martial for this game and Van Gaal’s side should exact revenge for their defeat at PSV in the opening gameweek. United have been level at half-time five of their last six home league and Champions League games as Van Gaal has admitted that United’s possession based style aims to tire the opposition out, the benefits of which are largely felt in the second half. With that in mind, backing United to take until the second half to exert their dominance is the way we’re playing this one.
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