Young Boys v Man Utd: Visitors may have to settle for a point
There's a huge gulf in class and experience between these two sides but Man Utd's poor away record in Europe of late means a draw is the best bet, according to Jamie Pacheco. Here's his preview of Wednesday's match...
"But if you’re going to go with the draw, you might as well push the boat out a little more and add both teams scoring to the equation. We’ve already said the Swiss outfit have had no trouble scoring this season and it’s in defence that those problems of Man Utd's in key positions can be found."
Young Boys v Man Utd
Wednesday September 19 20:00
Live on BT Sport
Young Boys in fine form
To say this is unchartered territory for the brilliantly-named Young Boys is putting it mildly. This is their first-ever game in the Champions League, although they did take part in the European Cup several times before it was re-branded in 1992 and gave Harry Redknapp's Spurs a fright in a qualifier back in 2010, racing into a 3-0 lead before eventually losing over two legs.
And the Swiss champions certainly didn't do too badly the last time they were in Europe's top competition; they beat Real Madrid here back in 1986 before going out on aggregate.
To prove that last year's win in the Swiss League was no fluke, they're top again this year, with six wins from six games. Christian Fassnacht and Gulliaume Hoarau (who is French) each contributed four goals to their very impressive tally of 19 in just six matches.
United's fall from grace
If the Man Utd hierarchy were to check Betfair's winner market, they'd see them chalked up as [36.0] tenth favourites. They certainly didn't employ Jose Mourinho and spend all that money to be a bigger price than...no disrespect here...Tottenham.
But they're that price for a reason. Despite all that investment there are worrying areas of weakness in at least three positions on the pitch. And few will have forgotten that bizarre capitulation at the hands of Sevilla last year at Old Trafford in the Champions League.
Still, at least over the last two rounds of the league, Mourinho has re-discovered the art of winning games without playing that well. Not many sides this season will go to Burnley and Watford and come back with six points from those two outings.
They'd be well-advised to take this match seriously. They'll do well to get more than a point off Juventus across two matches and then there's Valencia. Los Che didn't start the season particularly well but have arguably the strongest squad they've had in a while and their quick, passing-based style of football isn't one Mourinho likes being up against.
I'm not crazy about United's price to win the match here. The odds-compilers are clearly thinking the occasion will get to such an inexperienced team at this level. Because the away record of Mourinho's men in this competition certainly doesn't suggest they should be odds-on here.
Opta tell us they've won just three of their last 14 games away in the Champions League and scored just once in their last three. That 3/4 isn't one for me with the draw probably being the pick of the three match outcomes at 5/2.
But if you're going to go with the draw, you might as well push the boat out a little more and add both teams scoring to the equation.
We've already said the Swiss outfit have had no trouble scoring this season and it's in defence that those problems in key positions can be found. David de Gea is going through a rare poor patch, Antonio Valencia looks a bit heavy-legged at the moment and you never know which Luke Shaw is going to turn up. As for his centre-backs, I'm not sure Mourinho knows who his best two are any more than any of us do. In other words, this is unlikely to end 0-0.
A draw with both teams scoring, obviously covering the 1-1 and 2-2 eventualities, is 7/2 and that looks worth taking.
If Shaw is a bit of an enigma, then so is Marcus Rashford. The 20-year-old has already been through more in his short career than many players have by the time they're 30. Few players go from being flavour of the month to scapegoat or vice-versa more often than him. Take this last couple of weeks, for example. Sent off as a substitute for violent conduct under provocation in a game Utd were cruising 2-0 in at Burnley, he then goes on and scores both of England's goals during the international break.
The result of that red is that he missed their trip to Watford on Saturday. And with two more domestic matches coming up he'll be unavailable for, he'll surely get a game here. He grabbed three goals in the group stages last year, is fresh and with a point to prove, he could well get another. He's 9/5 to score.
But there's a reason why Romelu Lukaku is the favourite at 11/10, other than the obvious fact that he's the key striker of the match jollies. You see, the big Belgian has 'previous' against the Young Boys. He scored five goals in two appearances against them for Everton, including a hat-trick. He's also scored three of United's last four league goals.