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United Ready for Marseille Challenge

United take on Marseille in Europe's biggest club competition

Manchester United will be looking for a positive first-leg performance in the last 16 tie against French side Marseille.

United did just what they had to in order to come through a difficult FA Cup match against Crawley Town at the weekend. However, Sir Alex Ferguson may be a little frustrated with the complacency on display from some of his players and a large number of changes should be made.

Edwin Van Der Saar will return in goal along with a few tweaks to the defence of the team. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are in contention to re-take their places in the heart of the United defence while Patrice Evra looks set to return to left-back in place of Fabio Da Silva.

There will be a complete shake up in the middle of the United team as Paul Scholes will be expecting to have his place back at the expense of Anderson or Darron Gibson. Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher will be in contention to partner Anderson in the middle if Ferguson decides to go for a 4-4-2. They could both play if United adopt a 4-5-1.

Nani and Ryan Giggs are likely to take their places down either flank. Gibson has played out wide at points this season but Ferguson will want to play experience and pace on both sides of the pitch to counter the aggressive full-backs that Marseille possess.

If the formation is a 4-5-1 then it will be a toss up between Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov over who plays at the very top of the team. Rooney seems to be in good form at the moment after a long period in the wilderness and could do a lot more running on and off the ball than his Bulgarian partner. If the attack is two pronged then they will both play.

United were given a big score during the FA Cup match against Crawley and Ferguson will want control in an important first-leg European match. A five man midfield may seem a little negative but it would allow United to control the ball and ensure that they can dictate the pace of the game. Marseille can be a very intimidating place to play at.

Park Ji-Sung will not feature during this match because the South Korean is still out of action with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for a few more weeks. Antonio Valencia is back in training but will not feature for the first team until he’s played a lot of reserve games in order to increase his match sharpness and fitness. Owen Hargreaves remains out with a knee problem.

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