Manchester United v Besiktas, Champions League, September 15, 2009
Fresh from probably their finest performance of the season at White Hart Lane, Manchester United head to Turkey as they aim to reach their third consecutive Champions League final.
Predictably Besiktas goalkeeper Rustu Recber (pictured) has warned United of the level of hostility they will face in the BJK Inonu Stadium: â€œOur fans can really make it hell.â€ But the home side come into this game off some pretty poor form and the crowd may have to make a huge difference to play their part in a surprise result.
The Turkish champions have been pretty woeful so far this season. After losing the Super Cup final to Fenerbahce, the Black Eagles have won just one game in the Turkish Super Lig and on Saturday lost 3-0 at Galatasaray to leave them marooned in mid-table and a lot closer to the bottom of the table than pace setters Fener and Gala.
Although Italian defender Matteo Ferrari, who had a spell at Everton in 2005/2006, may be familiar to some, undoubtedly Besiktasâ€™ key man is former Real Sociedad and Villareal striker Nihat who returned to the club where he began his career in the summer.
So far Nihatâ€™s homecoming has not gone quite as planned and the busy striker is yet to score in five appearances. As a result coach Mustafa Denizli may start with the strikers who were so effective last season, Brazilian Bobo and Slovakian Filip Holosko.
Despite sounding like a child’s toy, Bobo is a prolific striker who is in the last year of his contract and will be keen to impress against United. Last season he scored 13 goals and was devastating alongside Holosko who chipped in with 11.
Incredibly, the Slovakian is also out of contract at the end of 2009/2010 and Holosko proved his prowess in front of goal last week when he claimed a powerful second to see off Northern Ireland in a crucial World Cup qualifier.
Except for the surprise defeat at Turf Moor, United have saved their best performances for away matches this season. The 5-0 win at Wigan and the 3-1 victory at Spurs suggest the current United side are perfectly set up to defend well and break quickly and it appears unlikely that Besiktas will be good enough to defend against this game plan.
Sir Alex Fergusonâ€™s main worry is to keep players fresh for the derby match against Manchester City on Sunday which will follow a fairly grueling (in European terms) away trip. As a result Rio Ferdinand may be rested and Michael Carrick could come in from the start.
Having begun the season in blistering form, Besiktas will have their hands full with Wayne Rooney. The 23-year-old striker now has five goals in as many Premier League appearances and he should be confident against the outspoken Rustu Recber.
Rooneyâ€™s famous hat-trick on his debut in a 6-2 mauling over Fenerbahce was against, youâ€™ve guessed it, Rustu Recber. One would have thought the veteran keeper would have kept his mouth shut.
101gg predicts: Besiktas 0 â€“ Manchester United 3 (9/1)
Full match odds here.