Erik ten Hag’s men will look to keep their Champions League progression hopes alive on Wednesday. We look ahead with our data-powered Galatasaray vs Manchester United prediction and preview.
Galatasaray vs Manchester United Stats: The Quick Hits
- Galatasaray are predicted to come away with three vital points on Wednesday, winning 39% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations ahead of Matchday 5.
- Across the opening four matchdays in the UEFA Champions League this season, no team dropped more points from winning positions than Manchester United (six).
- Through the first four matchdays, Galatasaray midfielder Lucas Torreira recovered possession more times than any other player (42).
Manchester United must avoid defeat away to Galatasaray on Wednesday if they are to have any hope reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.
United sit bottom of Group A with three defeats from their four matches, leaving them with it all to do if they are to reach the last 16 for the first time under Erik ten Hag.
In his previous job with Ajax, it took Ten Hag until his 13th group game in the competition to suffer his third defeat; another one on Wednesday will mean curtains for his team’s ambitions this season.
If United are indeed eliminated, they will be left to rue missed opportunities after losing two matches in which they’d been ahead this season: against Galatasaray on MD2 and FC Copenhagen on MD4. It’s only the third time in their history they’ve lost multiple games in which they’ve led in a single Champions League campaign (also two in 2001-02 and 2015-16).
No side has dropped more points from winning positions than United (six) across the first four games, and it could be a familiar face that lands the fatal blow on Wednesday.
Having endured an unsuccessful two-year spell at Old Trafford between 2013 and 2015, Galatasaray’s Wilfried Zaha has netted four goals in his last five games against the Red Devils, including one in the reverse fixture this season at Old Trafford. He has ended on the winning side in all three of the games in this run when he’s scored (twice with Crystal Palace, once with Galatasaray).
After beating United at Old Trafford earlier this season, Galatasaray could win home and away against an opponent in the Champions League for just the second time – they last did so in 1969-70 against Irish side Waterford United (2-0 at home, 3-2 away).
Okan Buruk’s men will have to keep a close eye on Rasmus Højlund if he’s fit, though. He may not have scored a Premier League goal yet, but he’s been firing in the Champions League.
Højlund has scored five goals in four Champions League appearances for United; only two players aged under 21 have scored more often for an English club in the competition, with Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal) and Phil Foden (Manchester City) both netting six times.
The Denmark international was absent for the 3-0 win over Everton at the weekend with a hamstring injury, though he could be available against Galatasaray, while Luke Shaw made his return in that game and is likely to play a part again on Wednesday. Marcus Rashford will be a big miss as he serves a one-game suspension for being sent off in the 4-3 defeat at Copenhagen, while Antony is a doubt for kick-off after missing the visit to Goodison Park.
Ten Hag continues to be troubled by the long-term absences of Casemiro and Lisandro Martínez, while Mason Mount, Jonny Evans, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia are not expected back in the lineup until early December at least, while Jadon Sancho remains in exile.
The performance of Kobbie Mainoo in midfield on his full Premier League debut at the weekend provided his manager with a significant boost amid this injury crisis, however, as the England youth international’s display showed he’s ready for regular opportunities at senior level.
For Buruk, Davinson Sánchez is likely to play despite going off in the 4-0 Süper Lig win over Alanyaspor at the weekend, while Abdülkerim Bardakci is also expected back having missed his team’s last league outing.
Galatasaray vs Manchester United Head-to-Head
Galatasaray failed to win any of their first five European games against United but have now won each of their last two against them, both in the Champions League (1-0 in November 2012 and 3-2 in October 2023).
Man Utd have never scored an away goal against Galatasaray in three previous visits (two 0-0 draws and a 1-0 defeat), which is the most away European games they’ve played against an opponent without netting.
Their last meeting was a topsy-turvy encounter, Galatasaray twice pegging United back before Mauro Icardi scored his first Champions League goal since December 2019 to clinch a 3-2 victory for the Turkish side after Casemiro was sent off for a pair of yellow cards.
Galatasaray have lost two of their last three matches, though their most recent outing was a comfortable 4-0 home league win over Alanyaspor. They are also imperious on home soil, having only lost twice at the Rams Global Stadium in any competition since August 2022.
Furthermore, this game comes in the middle of a challenging week for United, who will be enduring a tour of three hostile environments in succession. They successfully navigated the first of those, winning 3-0 against an embattled Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday for their third straight Premier League victory, but United then travel to take on Newcastle United in the top flight on Saturday after this trip to Istanbul.
This will be the eighth time Galatasaray have hosted English opposition in the Champions League, only losing two of the previous seven; Chelsea in October 1999 (5-0) and Arsenal in December 2014 (4-1) are the only English sides to have won there in the competition.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Galatasaray vs Manchester United Prediction
While Wednesday’s game looks a difficult one to call, home advantage means Galatasaray head into the contest as slight favourites, winning 39% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations conducted ahead of MD5.
United could really do with three points and are given a 36.9% chance of collecting a potentially season-altering victory, though even a point will mean their chances of reaching the last 16 remain intact going into MD 6; the teams share the spoils in 24.1% of simulations.
Ten Hag’s men are up against it if they are to make it to the round of 16, reaching the knockout stages in just 21.3% of the full season simulations prior to this matchday, making them the least likely in Group A to join already-qualified Bayern Munich in the knockouts behind Galatasaray (45.4%) and Copenhagen (33.3%). The Turkish side, meanwhile, are given a 9% chance of making it to the quarter-finals.