After a 30 minute second half cameo that prompted his manager to praise his calming presence in midfield, Manchester United newboy Marouane Fellaini is likely to have earned his first start when United entertain Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
David Moyes was quick to show his appreciation for his £27m signing, who came on for Anderson in the 60th minute with the score against Crystal Palace still at 1-0.
Taking up a protective role in front of the back four, Fellaini kept it calm and simple as his new side went on to secure a 2-0 victory thanks to a Wayne Rooney free kick.
Despite having played as a makeshift centre forward at times under Moyes at Everton, Fellaini’s role at United is likely to be more of a defensive one, with Moyes preferring to use his physicality further down the pitch to break up attacks and offload onto United’s attackers.
As they begin their European campaign this week, this defensive midfield slot will be a vital one to fill, particularly against Sami Hyypia’s confident Leverkusen side.
The Germans finished third in the Bundesliga last season and have started this campaign in great form, lying third with four wins from their five opening encounters.
Despite losing Andre Schurrle to Chelsea, they’ve shown this season that they’re still more than capable of finding the net, with Steven Kiessling (8/1 to score first) in sparkling form with four goals already. Encouragingly for United, though, they haven’t exactly been stingy at the back, conceding at a rate of more than a goal a game so far.
They have proven themselves as a team capable of an upset, however, being the only side to beat a formidable Bayern Munich outfit in the league last season.
But with Fellaini in the side, United will be confident of being able to blunt their attacks before they get near the home side’s box. Although the giant Belgian is 5/2 to score at any time, should he start the game, the pick of the bunch looks to be the 13/10 on United to keep a third successive home clean sheet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.