Defence and not Rooney key for Man Utd’s Champions League clash

Manchester United head into their final Group C game against Basel knowing they need a point to progress to the knockout stages – but it promises to be a tricky night for the Premier League champions.

United have been far from impressive so far in a group they were expected to comfortably win when the draw was announced.

They have not been helped by having Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen all sidelined with injury, leaving only Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck to carry the burden of getting the goals.

Rooney hasn’t scored since his two penalties against Otelul Galati back in October and Welbeck’s season has been disrupted by injury following a promising start.

Rooney and Welbeck are 4/1 and 5/1 respectively to open the scoring but it’s at the other end of the pitch that United will need to be far better than they have been so far in Europe.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have shipped six goals in their five group games so far and have only managed to shut out minnows Otelul Galati.

Their last game against Basel saw them concede three goals after going 2-0 up and Ferguson has drummed it into his players that such complacency and poor defending will not be tolerated this time.

Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones were the centre half pairing that day but tonight should see the inclusion of Serbian Nemanja Vidic alongside Ferdinand.

The duo shut out Aston Villa on Saturday and, with a draw being enough to see United through, backing them to help United to a clean sheet at 6/5 looks well worth a punt.