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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Manchester United vs Celtic Champions League 08-09: Preview, Live Score

Defending Champions Manchester United is going to face Scottish champion Celtic in a high profile Champions League fixture on Tuesday (21 October 2008) at Old Trafford. The Group E match of Champions League 2008-2009 will see two British rivals lock horns in a seemingly hard fought encounter. Manchester United will be looking to continue their winning run in the Europe, while Celtic desperately needs point from the match following his away defeat to Villarreal.

Match: Manchester United vs Celtic; Champions League 2008-2009, Gropu E

Date: 21 October 2008, Tuesday

Venue: Old Trafford

Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)

Manchester United is the English champion and currently holds the title of Champions League. However, the Red Devils got off to a bad start to both English Premier League as well as in the Europe. Manchester started their title defense campaign of Europe with a goalless draw against Villarreal at home. However, the defending champions indicated to come back to their prime form with a resounding 3-0 victory away at Aalborg BK in Denmark. With this victory, Manchester Untied is leading the point table with 4 points from 2 matches.

Celtic, on the other hand, got off to a poor start too in Champions League this season, picking up only one point from the first two games. Like Manchester United, Celtic also started their Champions League campaign with a goalless draw at home as they were held by Aalborg BK at Parkhead. In the second match, Celtic lost to Villarreal 1-0 on the road. So, they have no

Celtic’s away record is perhaps one of the worst in the Europe as the Scottish giants gained only 1 out of 48 possible points from away matches of Champions League group stage. This is definitely one of the strong points to consider Manchester United favorite against Celtic on Tuesday. The two sides met two seasons back in the group phase of Champions League with United defeating Celtic 3-2 at home and Celtic winning the return match 1-0 at home. At home, Celtic is a different side and Parkhead is considered to be one of the formidable fortresses in the Europe. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has recently admitted that the defeat to Celtic on the road was embarrassing for him.

So, Manchester United will be gearing up to avenge that away defeat at Celtic and their excellent form of recent gives confidence to their players. Though they started the domestic season poorly, United’s recent form in premier league is excellent. Since the 1-1 draw away at Chelsea, Manchester United has been in ominous form, winning all five matches in all competitions and in the last five matches, Manchester United scored 14 goals and conceded only one. This is what shows their very recent form. Last weekend, they defeated West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at home following a 2-0 away victory against a tricky opponent Blackburn Rovers. Still, Manchester United six points away from the league leaders Chelsea and Liverpool with a match at hand. United has 14 points from 7 league games so far this season.

Celtic, though, has not found their top form in Champions league yet, they have been in good form in Scottish Premier League. Celtic is leading the point table with 22 points from 9 outings and has lost only one game so far this season. Celtic extended their lead at the top of the table as they defeated Inverness CT 2-1 away last weekend. So, this victory will definitely energize the Celtic players ahead of the away encounter against Manchester United.

However, Celtic coach Gordon Strachan will miss a number of key players through injury for the trip to Old Trafford. Specially, Gordon Strachan will have to contend with a number of injury woes in his attacking line up. Greece international Gordon Strachan will miss the match as he needs to undergo a surgery on his knee. He picked up a knee injury playing for Greece in world cup qualifier last week. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Chris Kille are also sidelined with injury. Central defender Gary Caldwell is doubtful for the Manchester United match as he sustained a foot injury during Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Inverness CT.

Right back Andreas Hinkel and midfielder Marc Crosas may not be fit in time to catch the trip to Old Trafford. Scott McDonald is trying to regain his match fitness in order to be a part of Celtic squad that will travel to Manchester United. Manager Gordon Strachan is naturally worried about the string of injury news ahead of the important match against Manchester United.

Goal.com reported:

"These are not laughter lines on my face - it's hugely disappointing,” he told the Sunday Mail newspaper.

"It's not just Georgios and Jan because we've lost Chris Killen as well. So we are without physical strikers who give you lots of options,” added Strachan.

"You want the physique in your side plus the speed and ability. Our speed and ability are OK but the physical side is now a problem."

Terming Manchester United’s away defeat to Celtic two seasons back, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that United has been changed a lot since then, but Celtic has not yet.

Sky Sports reported:

"Celtic haven't changed much from then, but we have. Statistically in Europe they still have one of the best home records and one of the worst away.

"We have made a few additions to the squad since we last played them and we are more mature now."

Players to Watch out For

Wayne Rooney
The English forward seems to be coming of age, considering his dominating form of recent. The United star has been in superb scoring form with eight goals from last six games for his club and country. Rooney scored in each of his last five games he took part for England and Manchester United. Even these mere statistics do not reveal his current imperious form properly. So, Rooney will definitely be one of the key players of Ferguson for the match against Celtic. Celtic defenders will also have to keep an eye on him if they want to leave Old Trafford with a satisfactory result.

Shunsuke Nakamura
In the absence of a number of players from Celtic’s attacking line up, Shunsuke Nakamura seems to be manager Gordon Stracha’s ultimate reliance. Manchester United knows about Nakamura very well as his stunning free-kick earned Celtic a home victory over Manchester United in 2006. The Japanese midfielder is one of the most successful Asian players available in European football. Manchester United has to stop him from being at his prime; otherwise Nakamura could again become a threat for the home side.

Online Live Score and Updates

This seems to be a mouthwatering battle and British fans are eagerly waiting for this match. However, some of you may not be able to stick to your television set due to personal and professional works. So, here I am sharing some names of online live score and updates websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Considering Celtic’s shaky away record and Manchester United imperious form of recent, Manchester United seems to be favorite in the match. United will also have home advantage in the match. However, I do think that Manchester United can show even a slightest of complacency against Celtic, given their shocking away defeats of 2006. So, I think, Celtic has every possibility to win at least a point from the match, while Manchester United will go into the match with a view to winning three points, knowing the fact that they have to face a different Celtic side away at Celtic Park. So, I predict an entertaining, classic match at Old Trafford between European and English champion Manchester United and Scottish champion Celtic.

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