Whilst I think we should have the beating of Leverkusen, this isn’t the easiest of European baptisms Moyes could have hoped for but after the start to the season we’ve had (and are still having – City and Liverpool follow this one!) he’s probably becoming accustomed to not having it easy.
Leverkusen qualified for this competition by finishing third in the Bundesliga last season – just one point behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund but a massive 26 points behind the ridiculously dominant Bayern Munich.
As always, Moyes’ team selection will be of interest here but one name that will definitely not be on the sheet is that of Adnan Januzaj who, due to some UEFA technicality, cannot be registered on the “B” list of players until after 7th October so it will be our third group game at the earliest that we might see Adnan get his chance in this competition.
Once again, I am hoping that Moyes will use this one to rotate the squad a bit. I have a hunch Rio could sit this one out giving Evans the chance to come in and it would not surprise me to see Kagawa finally get the nod from Moyes.
Or maybe that last bit is just a bit of wishful thinking on my part.
Perhaps more likely is a midfield of Nani, Carrick, Fellaini and Valencia with Rooney and RvP up front although were Moyes to swap Carrick for Kagawa, that could work too and Carrick can’t be expected to play in every game.
Whilst this is a home game and the Fergie Blueprint for Champions League Group Stage Success was always to win the home games and take what you can from the away games, it is just the first of six games. Even a defeat here would not be a complete disaster – we would still have time to make up the necessary points and, on that basis, I would like to see Moyes take a bit of a risk (if playing the likes of Kagawa can be termed a risk).
What has been apparent from the last few games though is that we’re not creating enough chances in open play and I can’t see that state of affairs improving considerably should Moyes go with Carrick and Fellaini in the middle.
All will be revealed at around 7:30pm tonight though.
In the meantime, I have to make some sort of prediction here.
I have a feeling that this one is going to end 2-1 to United. Leverkusen have the dangerous Stefan Kiessling (top scorer in the Bundesliga last season) so a goal for them would not surprise.
However, our own mini-goal drought from open play cannot go on forever and a Champions League night is as good a night as any to get back on track.