Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen on Tuesday boosted their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
A goal by Harry Maguire and Andre Onana’s late penalty save dragged United over the line to ensure they remained in contention to finish in the top two in Group A.
However, defeats in their opening two matches have left the Red Devils with little room for error in a group that should have posed little problem for them.
Bayern Munich were expected to secure top spot and have duly rattled off three consecutive victories to cement their status as one of the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy.
A quick look at the latest football betting online prices to qualify from Group A perfectly highlights why the club’s fanbase in the UK and Ireland may be sweating on the outcome.
Erik ten Hag’s side are a best-priced 10/11 to reach the last-16, with Galatasaray available at odds of 11/10. Given the manner of their performance at Old Trafford, it would also be foolish to write off Copenhagen’s chances of progressing to the knockout stage.
The bookies believe it will be a two-way fight between United and Galatasaray, and their clash in Istanbul on November 29 may determine who goes through.
The Turkish side visit Bayern in their next group game and it would be a shock if they are able to upset the Bundesliga champions at the Allianz Arena.
On that basis, United must ensure they pick up three points when they visit Copenhagen on the same evening. Achieving that feat will be easier said than done.
Copenhagen proved to be a tough nut to crack at Old Trafford, limiting United to just a single shot on goal during the first 45 minutes. Their ability to maintain their shape while defending deep made it difficult for United to break through, but a tactical switch at half-time brought about some improvement.
The introduction of Christian Eriksen in place of Sofyan Amrabat gave United more control in midfield and helped Bruno Fernandes have more influence on the game. Despite this, Maguire’s 72nd goal was all they had to show for their efforts and the result would have been different but for Onana’s heroics in stoppage time.
The game in Copenhagen may well follow a similar pattern, with the Danish side expected to line up deep in the hope of catching United on the break.
The Danish outfit adopted those tactics when they hosted Bayern earlier this month, allowing the visitors to dominate possession and limiting the chances they offered up.
Copenhagen edged in front in the 55th minute, but Bayern battled back to secure a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals by Jamal Musiala and Mathys Tel.
The fact that Copenhagen took the lead should serve as a warning to any United fans who think the game in Denmark is a foregone conclusion.
United are yet to hit their stride this season and can ill-afford to be complacent against a team that can make life difficult for them. Having said that, these are the type of games United need to start winning with ease if they are serious about winning silverware.
While Copenhagen are a solid enough side, there is not a single player in their starting XI who would get into United’s team. On that basis, odds of 13/17 to win the game look too good to ignore.
A victory in Denmark would make the trip to Galatasaray slightly easier. With Bayern awaiting in the final group game, United need all the points they can muster.