It’s been a Premier League baptism of fire for new Manchester United manager David Moyes, but the Scot can seek solace in the unfamiliar territory of the Champions League.
The stats show Shakhtar Donetsk’s Donbass Arena to be somewhat of a fruitless bowl for visiting Premier League teams, as the last three English clubs to have visited at this stage of the Champions League – including holders Chelsea last year – have left empty handed.
However, while many will be tempted to side with the Shakhtar’s 7/5 to increase United’s misery, there are some mitigating factors working for Moyes, that can help steer the English side three points clear in the group and back towards favour with impatient fans.
Firstly, we have already seen how Man Utd reacted to each of their first two defeats this season; by bouncing back in true Alan Partridge fashion, with a win.
It must have been particularly pleasing for Moyes to see his side scupper Liverpool just days after getting embarrassed in the derby with Manchester City.
The latest meltdown at home to West Brom means the Scot will have them more fired up than ever to repair the damage by getting a positive result in the Ukraine.
Secondly, Robin van Persie should be available to start his first game since taking a scoring role in what was a really buoyant opening performance by the Red Devils in this competition when beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2.
The Dutchman’s return will have a hugely positive impact on the rest of the travelling squad.
Also, Shakhtar have paid the penalty for their own success last season somewhat, by losing three of their brightest talents of that run into the Champions League knock-out stages.
Losing such creative forces as Willian, Fernandinho and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is sure to have a negative impact on the Ukrainians.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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