Olympiacos v Man United special

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: February 25 2014, 19:37 GMT

Manchester United return to Champions League action against Olympiacos tonight and we have all angles covered for the big match.

  • Robin van Persie: In the goals for Manchester United
  • Joel Campbell: One to watch for Olympiacos 
  • David Beckham scored this goal as United won 2-0 at Olympiacos in 2001 

A spot in the quarter-finals is the reward for the winner of this round of 16 tie and the first leg in Greece could set us up very nicely for the return meeting at Old Trafford on March 19.

Overview

The Champions League represents Manchester United's last chance of a trophy this season but it will be incredibly tough to go all the way. David Moyes' men have failed to hit their stride throughout this campaign but the arrival of Juan Mata does seem to have put a little spring back in their step. The bad news is Mata is cup-tied for this competition so the focus will inevitably go on Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney as the Red Devils' two match-winners. They are more than capable of stepping up but a draw (preferably a score one) would actually be a perfectly acceptable outcome for Moyes and his men. The team news sees Danny Welbeck and Rafael return to training ahead of the game but Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are set to miss out once again. Nani also remains nowhere to be seen. Olympiacos are 23 points clear at the top of the Greek Super League with victory claimed in all 13 of their league matches at home so far this season. A pretty impressive record but despite the name it's fair to say the Super League isn't as super as the Premier League. United are the better side in this tie and it goes to show the value of finishing top of your Champions League group. Rivals Manchester City would certainly have found it easier with Greece as the word rather than Barcelona.

How they reached the round of 16

Team Versus Team
Olympiakos v Man Utd
West Brom v Man Utd
Man Utd v Liverpool
Man Utd v Olympiakos
West Ham v Man Utd
Man Utd v Man City

United finished top of Group A and produced their most impressive performance of the season in dispatching Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 at the BayArena. Wayne Rooney was the star man in that victory. Olympiacos finished second behind PSG in Group C and only just nudged through at Benfica's expense. A 3-1 victory over Anderlecht made sure of progression.

Players to watch

Olympiacos - Joel Campbell

The Costa Rica international forward is on loan at Olympiacos from Arsenal so this match provides the perfect opportunity for Gunners fans to check on his progress. There is plenty of pressure on his shoulders on Tuesday night with Kostas Mitroglou making a January move to Fulham and Javier Saviola ruled out through injury. Can he fill the void? It's a tough ask but Arsene Wenger will be hoping he can.

Manchester United - Wayne Rooney

An easy choice to pick Rooney given the headlines he's been making. His new four-year contract worth around £300,000 a week has got tongues wagging and he netted in the weekend's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace. Team-mates need to step up too but the striker will once again lead from the front.

Current form

Olympiacos - OFI (away) - won 4-0, Platanias (home) - won 4-2, Atromitos (away) - drew 1-1, Veria (away) - won 5-0, Panionios (home) - won 2-0.

Manchester United - Crystal Palace (away) - won 2-0, Arsenal (away) - drew 0-0, Fulham (home) - drew 2-2, Stoke (away) - lost 2-1, Cardiff (home) - won 2-0.

Previous meeting

Olympiacos 0 Manchester United 2, October 10, 2001

This was the first clash between the two clubs and the match happened four days after That Goal from David Beckham against Greece to secure England's place at the 2002 World Cup. The midfielder's success against the Greeks continued as he opened the scoring for United by turning in a cross from Ryan Giggs, who as we all know is still going strong. Andy Cole sealed the victory after coming on as a substitute for Juan Sebastian Veron. The sides have met three times since and all the matches have been won by the Red Devils.

Do you remember?

Roy Carroll

Carroll was a regular substitute goalkeeper during his time at Manchester United and now he performs the same role for Olympiacos. The experienced Northern Ireland international has clocked up the miles since leaving Old Trafford in 2005. His journey has taken him through West Ham, Rangers, Derby, Odense, Sheffield United (trial), Barnet (trial), Preston (trial) and OFI Crete. It would be quite a story if he somehow managers to return to the main stage on Tuesday night.

Matt Derbyshire

An unused sub for Nottingham Forest in the 3-1 defeat at Burnley on Saturday, there was a time when Derbyshire was the main man in Greek football. The striker came on as a half-time substitute when Olympiacos were 2-0 down in the 2009 Greek Cup final to fierce rivals AEK Athens. All looked lost but a quick goal from Derbyshire got his side back in the contest and he made an even bigger impact when trailing 3-2 at the end of extra-time. The former Blackburn forward popped up with an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time and Olympiacos went on to win 15-14 on penalties.

Videos

The Sunday Supplement panel discuss Wayne Rooney's new five-year contract at Manchester United.

Wayne Rooney says he's focused on winning games for Manchester United after he scored in his side's 2-0 win away to Crystal Palace.

Gary Neville feels that Wayne Rooney has made the right decision to stay at Manchester United.

Top tweets

Manchester United, February 23 (@ManUtd) - .@WayneRooney says #mufc are ready for Greek test: "It's a massive game & we want to go through. It'll be tough but we'll be well prepared."

Manchester United, February 23 (@ManUtd) - Olympiacos go into Tuesday's game v #mufc on the back of a 4-0 win at OFI, further extending their lead at the top of Greece's Super League.

Rio Ferdinand, February 23 (@rioferdy5) - Decent result that! always enjoy playing at selhurst park, quality atmosphere set by both sets of supporters #mufc

Betting

Manchester United are the 10/11 favourites with Sky Bet to claim victory on Tuesday night. Olympiacos can be backed at 5/2 and the draw is available at 23/20. Jamie Redknapp's tips are the draw, a 1-1 draw at 5/1 and Wayne Rooney to score first at 9/2. I think United will just about come out on top so the 11/2 for a 1-0 win to the away side makes appeal. The 6/4 for David de Gea to keep a clean sheet is also worth some interest. Robin van Persie has scored in four of the Red Devils' last five matches and is 10/11 to do so again in Greece.

We have Ben Coley's betting tips for the night's Champions League action to check out too. He makes Rooney his main man to watch.


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