Basel v Manchester United preview: Jose Mourinho's side target last 16
Last Updated: 22/11/17 11:28pm
Manchester United need to avoid defeat against Basel on Wednesday to ensure they qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.
United have been dominant in Group A, winning all four of their matches while scoring 10 goals and conceding just one.
They beat Basel 3-0 at Old Trafford and can also qualify on Wednesday if CSKA Moscow fail to beat Benfica in the other game in the group.
Basel, meanwhile, can secure their place in the last 16 if they win and CSKA lose against Benfica.
Jose Mourinho confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start on the bench against Basel on Wednesday night after making his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury in Saturday's win over Newcastle.
He said: "Zlatan goes on the bench tomorrow and he normally plays because he needs to play and because he's useful for us.
"If we are in a winning position like we were against Newcastle, we need him on the pitch. He drops into areas where he gives stability to the team.
"If the team is not winning, his presence on the pitch will be important, positive, more aggressive to play with (Romelu) Lukaku."
Basel boss Raphael Wicky joined Mourinho in playing down concerns over the pitch at St Jakob-Park, saying: "I haven't seen it since Saturday but it's actually better than it looks.
"It might have some flaws in colour, but that doesn't take anything away from the function. Once the ball jumped up a little high, but overall the pitch is good."
Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick (all injured) will miss the trip to Basel, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start the evening on the bench.
Marcos Rojo is pushing to return from a long-term knee injury, while Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia were not pictured travelling to Switzerland.
Basel will be missing for Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel but otherwise have no injury concerns.
This will be the sixth meeting between these sides in European competition (all in the Champions League; United winning twice whilst the Swiss club have won only one of those previous encounters (D2).
No English side has ever managed to keep a clean sheet on the road against Basel in European competition (13 such fixtures); the Swiss club have claimed 1- 0 victories in two of their last three home games versus English opposition.
This is the ninth time an English club have won their opening four Champions League group stage games (including 2nd group stages), with Manchester United responsible for six of those (1997-98, 2002-03 1st, 2002-03 2nd, 2007-08 and 2012-13).
Basel are currently sat on six points after their first four matches; 57 per cent of sides to hold this record at this stage in the Champions League since 2003/04 (current format) have progressed to the next phase.
The Red Devils have only lost once in their last nine Champions League fixtures (W6 D2); conceding just one goal in their last four.
Anthony Martial has been directly involved in five of the last eight goals recorded on the road by Manchester United in the Champions League (three scored and two assists).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
Basel always seem capable of claiming a scalp and they are going well in the group, with a result here putting them in real contention to qualify.
I think these are the games where he'd like to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic in there, although we'll have to see whether he's ready to start a game, while I don't think he'll risk Paul Pogba.
The job has been pretty much done for Manchester United here, whereas Basel will fight tooth and nail for a result, so I think that evens things up.
Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Ibrahimovic to score first (20/1 with Sky Bet)
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Manchester United are even-money with Sky Bet for the victory as FC Basel are priced at 3/1 while the draw is a 12/5 chance. Mourinho's men are currently considered 12/1 shots to go on and win the Champions League, with PSG 7/2 favourites. Romelu Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 100/30, closely followed by Ibrahimovic at 7/2, while Albian Ajeti is considered the hosts' main threat at 13/2 to net first.