Champions League: Man Utd v Olympiakos

robin van persieMan Utd have a two-goal deficit to overcome when they host Olympiakos on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie (19:45 GMT, live on Sky Sports).

Olympiakos made the most of their first leg home advantage, taking the game to United, out-shooting them 12-to-7 and establishing a two goal lead thanks to well-taken strikes from Alejandro Dominguez and Joel Campbell.

Man Utd come into the second leg low on confidence following a worryingly comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday. They are seventh in the Premier League table, 12 points off the top four, with 48 points from 14 wins, six draws and nine defeats.

Best Betting Odds to win this match:
1/2 Man Utd (Bet365)
15/4 Draw (Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook)
6/1 Olympiakos (Bet365, BetVictor, Stan James, Betfair Sportsbook)

The three-time Champions League winners made it through to the last 16 by winning Group A with an undefeated record of four wins and two draws that included a highly impressive 5-0 win away to Bayer Leverkusen. In a season in which little has gone right domestically, David Moyes will be desperate at least to steer United through to the last eight.

Moyes’ side were thoroughly outclassed by Liverpool on Sunday. While their visitors attacked with verve and incision, United plodded forwards without a clear plan or purpose, managing just one shot on target. Robin Van Persie (pictured) was largely anonymous up front, while Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata were unable to provide the necessary creative spark.

It was not just in attack that United were ponderous, as Liverpool’s variety of movement in the final third proved too much for their defence to deal with. With Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick failing to provide an effective shield in front of them, they were pulled all over the place. Three of the back four conceded penalties, while Nemanja Vidic was sent off.

Moyes will be without the injured Chris Smalling (hamstring) for this tie, while both Javier Hernandez (knee) and Johnny Evans (calf) will face late fitness tests. Mata is cup-tied after appearing in the competition for Chelsea earlier this season.

Olympiakos come into the second leg on the back of a 2-0 win at home to Panthrakikos on Saturday that saw them wrap up a fourth consecutive Greek Superleague crown. Their total of 77 points from 25 wins, two draws and two defeats has given them an insurmountable 18-point lead with five matches left to play.

The Erythrolefkoi qualified to the knockout stages by finishing second in Group C, edging out Benfica by virtue of a better head-to-head record. After an excellent performance in the home leg they will be hopeful of progressing to the quarter finals for the first time in the Champions League era, having thrice been eliminated at the round of 16 stage.

Michel got his tactics spot on in the first leg, with the direct dribbling of Dominguez and the pace of Campbell and Michael Olaitan proving troublesome for the Man Utd defence. Olympiakos have scored in every one of their seven Champions League matches this season and have a good variety of attacking options.

The Olympiakos defensive unit has been supremely effective in domestic competition, conceding just 14 times in 29 matches, and performed solidly in the first leg, limiting United to few clear cut opportunities. They were, however, opened up relatively easily by Paris Saint-Germain during the group stage and remain vulnerable to pace.

Michel will definitely be without the injured Ariel Ibagaza and Dimitrios Siovas for this match, but Ivan Marcano, Javier Saviola and Kostas Manolas could all make the squad after making good progress in recovering from their respective injuries.

Man Utd v Olympiakos Betting Tips

Olympiakos’ first leg triumph was their first against Man Utd in the Champions League era, with United having won all four of their previous meetings. Olympiakos have met Arsenal in the group stage of three of their last five Champions League campaigns, winning all three home matches but losing each of the reverse fixtures in England.

United will surely be desperate to partially atone for their weekend defeat to Liverpool by overcoming their first leg deficit in front of their home supporters, but it will not be an easy task. Their attacking patterns have often been far too predictable this season and Olympiakos will sit deep and make things difficult for them.

The Greek champions have a number of quick players who will thrive in the space that is likely to open up as United go forward in search of the goals they need to advance. They will create chances and although United are the most likely victors on the night, we believe that Olympiakos will do enough to make it through at their expense.

  • Back both teams to score @ 10/11 with Coral, Paddy Power or William Hill.
  • Olympiakos will be determined to keep things tight early on. Man Utd need three goals to win the tie in normal time and are certain to keep attacking even if they do make an early breakthrough. Back the second half to be the highest scoring half @ best odds of 23/20 with BetVictor.

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