Rangers Preview: Win And You Are In

Despite playing in the UEFA Champions League, Manchester United has just a four-hour drive to the Ibrox Stadium to take on Rangers as they look to qualify for the Knockout phase of the competition.

United has yet to concede a goal in any of their four Champions League matches this season, which serves as the main reason as to why they are in the pole position in Group C at moment, but the Reds will need to be fully focused because a win against Rangers would secure safe passage through to the next round.

Contrastingly, Rangers’ European dreams are hanging by a thread after their 3-0 loss against Valencia in their last group match, so the reigning Scottish Champions need to win their next two games – against United and Bursaspor – to even have a glimmer of hope of advancing.

The Red Devils unbeaten streak, which is being waved off by some supporters as being relevant, has reached an impressive 27 matches and their last loss came well over SEVEN months ago.

The last time these two British rivals squared off, Rangers defended with a real sense of purpose and held out for a nil-nil draw at Old Trafford.

Walter Smith, who served as an assistant under Sir Alex Ferguson, outsmarted his former boss by deploying a FIVE center-back system, which limited United to very few long-range chances.

However, the game will not be remembered for the stalemate, but for the stomach-turning, horrific leg-break that Antonio Valencia suffered during the second-half, which will keep the Ecuadorian winger out of action until the end of February.


Rangers Preview: Win And You Are In

The Gers have won the Scottish league title an astonishing 53 times – more than any other club in the world – but they have been unable to replicate their domestic success on European soil by only winning one trophy – 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup.

To go along with all of their league titles, Rangers have won the Scottish Cup on 33 occasions and the Scottish League another 26 – a total of 112 trophies!

Kenny Miller has already matched his goal scoring total from all of last season in the Scottish Premier League by scoring 18 goals (13 games) for the Teddy Bears – which is over half of their total for the season (34).

David Weir, who one of the best players on the field at Old Trafford, currently serves as club captain, and the 40-year old has been the only player to start every one of the Gers’ game this season.

Rangers’ first-choice goalkeeper, Allan McGregor, has been touted as one of the eventual successors to Edwin van der Sar, but Scotland’s number one has given up 13 goals in as many matches this season.

Kenny Miller has already matched his goal scoring total from all of last season in the Scottish Premier League by scoring 18 goals (13 games) for the Teddy Bears – which is over half of their total for the season (34).

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around about Sir Alex not including Javier Hernandez in his traveling squad to the Ibrox due to chance he will be subjected to unbearable abuse because of his religious piety.

While Chicharito might miss out, Wayne Rooney will take the role of the wounded animal and make his first start for United since September 26.

Another player that is hopeful of a long awaited return is Ryan Giggs, who was an unused substitute in United’s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic this past weekend.

It is also being claimed that first-choice center-back pairing, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, are being rested, which should give Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans their first taste of European football together.

Sir Alex Ferguson will urge his Manchester United players to win against Rangers, so they can avoid scrambling for qualification against Valencia CF on Matchday 6 with two very important Barclays Premier League matches against Arsenal and Chelsea to follow.

United’s 21-Man Squad
B. Amos, E. van der Sar; W. Brown, J. Evans, P. Evra, Fabio, J. O’Shea, Rafael, C. Smalling; Anderson, Bébé, M. Carrick, R. Giggs, Nani, G. Obertan, J. S. Park, P. Scholes; D. Berbatov, J. Hernandez, F. Macheda, W. Rooney

Out: A. Valencia (leg), O. Hargreaves (hamstring), M. Owen (hamstring); Probable: R. Giggs (hamstring), Anderson (knee)

E. van der Sar; Rafael, C. Smalling, J. Evans, P. Evra; Anderson, P. Scholes, J. S. Park, Nani, R. Giggs; W. Rooney

Rangers 0 Manchester United 2

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