Olympiakos v Manchester United: Champions League match preview
A look ahead to this Tuesday’s Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
Tuesday 25 February 2014
Since the 2003/04 season, Olympiakos have won eight of the last ten domestic league campaigns in Greece, leading to an unprecedented dominance in the Superleague. In the current season, the club have won 24 of their 26 league matches and are yet to lose a match.
The Greek club have only lost twice outside their domestic campaign this term, both times at the hands of Group C toppers Paris Saint-Germain. Olympiakos finished second behind the Parisian club, level on points with Benfica, but with a better goal difference.
Olympiakos leapfrogged Benfica on the last match day of the Champions League group stage, winning 3-1 against the visiting Portuguese club. Former Argentina international and one time Benfica forward Javier Saviola scored twice for them that night.
David Moyes’ best bet of playing Champions League football with Manchester United next season may be automatic qualification, something only achievable by winning the tournament this term. With United currently 11 points behind fourth paced Liverpool, qualifying for the Champions League via the league is looking increasingly unlikely.
A horrid start to the New Year with three consecutive defeats, Moyes has managed to gain maximum points from only three out of a possible 11 fixtures played in 2014, which also included a Capital One Cup semi-final exit on penalties against Sunderland.
The news of Wayne Rooney’s new long-term deal may provide some respite from this season's negative headlines for fans, but £37m signing Juan Mata will have to sit this one out as he is cup tied. Though Moyes has come under a lot of fire this season, a successful Champions League run could lay to rest any talk that the Scot is not up to the job.
Olympiakos, who lost their Champions League top scorer Kostas Mitroglou to Fulham in the January transfer window, have never beaten Manchester United before. This tie does favour Manchester United, but given this season’s dip in form, the Red Devils will have to be careful while travelling away to Greece, a place where Olympiakos have enjoyed a great season of football this year.
KICK OFF: Tuesday 07.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Olympiakos 2 (Choutos, Djordjevic) Manchester United 3 (Blanc, Veron, Scholes), Champions League, October 2002.
Manchester United 4 (Giggs 2, Veron, Solskjaer) Olympiakos 0, Champions League, October 2002.
Manchester United 3 (Solskjaer, Giggs, van Nistelrooy) Olympiakos 0, Champions League, October 2001.
Olympiakos have failed to beat Manchester United in four previous Champions Leagues meetings, scoring twice and conceding 12 goals.
Manchester United are unbeaten in the Champions League so far, winning four and drawing two of their six games this season.
Olympiakos are unbeaten in their last 15 games having won 14 and drawn 1.
Ryan Giggs is only three games short of equalling Raul’s record of 142 appearances in the Champions League.
Olympiakos to win: 3.8
Manchester United to win: 2.24
TV: Live on ITV/ITV HD at 07.45pm
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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