Champions League: Man Utd’s Memphis faces swift return to PSV
Manchester United make a long-awaited return to the Champions League group stage after a season without European action but they face a tough trip to PSV Eindhoven, having never beaten the Dutch champions in two previous visits to the Netherlands.
Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils are still the 6/5 favourites with Coral to earn three points in this Group B encounter, though they possess a couple of Dutch stars that will potentially face a hostile reception on their return home.
Netherlands wideman Memphis Depay turned off his Lightbulb this summer to end his stay at the Philips Stadion and join United, while his international and club teammate Daley Blind was once highly successful when on the books of PSV’s bitter rivals Ajax.
According to the Dutch champions’ former coach Aad de Mos, who was in charge between 1993 and 1995, the Old Trafford duo should be preparing for a daunting challenge. “Depay is not going to get one bit of joy out of his return to Holland,” said De Mos.
“Santiago Arias, the Colombian international defender who knows him inside out, is going to eat him raw. And if Daley Blind thinks he can come and enjoy a bit of freedom, or dominate the game again, then he will soon realise all the PSV players are going to be after him. They will not leave him alone.”
Blind opened the scoring in the previous win over Liverpool and is 28/1 to do so again, while Memphis is 10/1 to mark a return to his old stomping ground with his second Champions League brace this term.
United head into what will be their first proper European clash since being toppled by Bayern Munich in April 2014, with their opponents 23/10 to make the most of a potentially intimidating atmosphere to cause an upset.
Van Gaal confirmed that his skipper Wayne Rooney will play no part in the PSV meeting after picking up a hamstring injury, meaning Belgium international Marouane Fellaini could be set to keep his place as a lone frontman.
Although, the stunning introduction of France starlet Anthony Martial at Old Trafford could boost his chances of featuring once again, after a sensational solo strike against Liverpool, and he is 9/4 to net anytime again here (max stake £20).
These two sides haven’t met since 2000, when Paul Scholes was on target in a 3-1 victory but, if there is to be a goal threat from midfield 15 years later, Ander Herrera could be the one to shine. The Basque box-to-box player is 7/2 to follow-up his Liverpool strike with another anytime.
PSV coach Phillip Cocu played under Van Gaal during his time with Barcelona, but now must try to overcome his former mentor. The Dutch legend’s main attacking danger could be that of Luuk de Jong, who recently hit a league hat-trick and is 2/1 to strike anytime in his latest outing.
Betting tip: Memphis to score two or more @ 10/1