Istanbul Basaksehir v Manchester United: Crisis, what crisis?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the firing line once again

Manchester United have a proven record of recovering from defeat and Andy Schooler expects them to beat Champions League new boys Basaksehir on Wednesday.

"The hosts have failed to score in six of their nine matches this season and with main striker Enzo Crivelli having limped off during Sunday’s 2-1 league win at Konyaspor, the signs aren’t great about them troubling a United defence which has remained pretty solid since the 6-1 humbling by Spurs."

Back United to win to nil @ 2.427/5

Istanbul Basaksehir v Manchester United
Wednesday 4 November, 17:55
Live on BT Sport 3

Another United pile-on

So, the critics are back out for Manchester United and their boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The thing is it happens virtually every time 'the world's biggest club' loses a game, the sense of perspective long since lost.

Of course, it's all Sir Alex Ferguson's fault. Setting the bar at such a high level has left the Sword of Damocles above the head of every manager since.

I suspect we will be in this situation for many more years, for United remain a long way short of the standards being set by England's best teams, let alone Europe's.

However, in the here and now, United face a match which provides them with a strong opportunity to put Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal behind them - just as they've done with virtually every disappointing result since football emerged from lockdown.

While it can be said United have had several poor results in that period, the fact is that after almost every game they failed to win, they have responded by winning the next. The one exception came when they drew with West Ham in July immediately following an FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea.

United have bouncebackability

Pile into Solskjaer and the players if you like, but that ability to bounce back and not get stuck in a rut is a great trait to have.

Continuing the theme of 'are things really so bad?', it should be pointed out that United have won six and drawn one of their 10 games this season. Less than a week ago, they smashed last season's Champions League semi-finalists Red Bull Leipzig 5-0.

They are also on their best-ever winning run away from home - they've won 10 in a row. That's never been done in the club's rich history. Eat your heart out Sir Alex.

They are available to back at 1.454/9 to win the game and extend that to 11 in Istanbul against the reigning champions of Turkey, who are not enjoying the best of times.

Turks not at their best

Their title defence began with them failing to score in their first four games. They've picked up since but in their debut Champions League group campaign they've failed to find the target, losing 2-0 in Leipzig and by the same scoreline at home to Paris Saint-Germain.

It means Basaksehir have failed to score in six of their nine matches this season and with main striker Enzo Crivelli (pictured below) having limped off during Sunday's 2-1 league win at Konyaspor, the signs aren't great about the 8.415/2 shots troubling a United defence which has remained pretty solid since the 6-1 humbling by Spurs.

1280 Enzo Crivelli Basaksehir.jpg

They gave up few chances against Arsenal, a game which could easily have ended goalless - just as their clash with Chelsea did the week before - but for Paul Pogba's silly challenge. Those games sandwiched the shut-out of Leipzig.

With the hosts' ageing team further weakened by the loss of long-term injury victims Nacer Chadli, Azubuike Okechukwu and Junior Caicara - captain Mahmut Tekdemir has also missed the last two games - United have a golden opportunity to return to winning ways.

They will likely shuffle their pack - something which would have happened regardless of Sunday's result. Donny van de Beek, who started against Leipzig, will surely get another chance, while Anthony Martial is available again after domestic suspension. However, perhaps it's time for Edinson Cavani to be handed his full debut - he'll be seeking his 50th European goal if he does play.

Visitors can keep hosts out

As they showed against Leipzig, United have a good enough squad to deliver results even when some of their supposed first-choice players are missing.

They will be happy to soak up whatever the home side can muster, knowing they have the players who can be deadly when they break.

With United a short price, I can understand those who wouldn't want to back them following Sunday's display but a look at the bigger picture suggests they should have more than enough to make it three wins out of three in this group.

The price can be boosted to 2.427/5 if you back them to win to nil which given the evidence of the hosts' struggle for goals and United's pretty solid defence looks fair enough.

I wouldn't expect the feast of goals we got at Old Trafford last midweek with under 2.5 looking possible value at 2.285/4 on the goals line.

That's occurred in seven of Basaksehir's nine games this season, plus two of United's last three.

The visitors have scored at least twice in each of their 10 games won on their travels so maybe a 2-0 away win at 7.613/2 is worth considering in the correct-score betting.

Bruno to land again?

In terms of goalscorers, Bruno Fernandes has scored in six of his eight starts during United's 10-match winning streak on the road, largely due to his prowess from the penalty spot.

With Italian referee Davide Massa having awarded a spot kick in 10 of his 19 Serie A matches last season, (13 in total), the Portuguese midfielder is a possible play at 6/5 to find the net, if he starts of course.

That's the same price as Marcus Rashford, the Champions League's current leading scorer, who has netted in both games so far and has four in all.

For the hosts, Crivelli scored 19 in all competitions last season and is 9/2 to net here, while Edin Visca - their creator-in-chief - is a 4/1 chance in the anytime scorer market.

Opta fact

Manchester United are looking to win their first three matches in a UEFA Champions League group stage for a ninth time - no team has ever failed to qualify after winning their first three games in a group stage.

Click here for more Champions League tips and previews

Andy Schooler's P/L 2020/21

Staked: 27pts
Returned: 25.16pts
P/L: -1.84pts

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