United v Celtic head 2 head
Tuesday October 21 2008
United are the reigning champions with Alex Ferguson leading the team to their second Champions League title of his tenure. The penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow saw them lift the European crown nine years after they beat Bayern Munich. It was their third victory overall after becoming Europe's top team in 1968.
Celtic were the first British club to be crowned European champions when they beat Inter Milan in the final in 1967. They again reached the final in 1970, losing to Feyenoord.
The Premier League champions are starting to tick and are benefiting from the fine form of Wayne Rooney. Although the Red Devils hit four against West Brom on Saturday, it was only the third time this season they had scored more than one goal in a league game. United are now fifth in the table with a game in hand.
Celtic are three points clear at the top of the SPL ahead of rivals Rangers, who have a game in hand, following the weekend win at Inverness.
Celtic have lost only once at home all season -- albeit to Rangers -- and they have been relentless. However, their away form in Europe is abysmal with just one point from 16 games.
United have many household names, while Celtic have few players who would be recognised outside Scotland. The Old Trafford outfit has an abundance of riches up front with Rooney one of the in-form players in the Premier League. Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo also star. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic can be imperious at the back with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick working hard in midfield.
Celtic are depleted by injuries. Of those available, Scott McDonald is a pacy forward who can score key goals. And many will remember Shunsuke Nakamura who scored with a superb free-kick in the teams' last meeting.