Man Utd v Benfica preview: No fresh injury worries for Jose Mourinho
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 31/10/17 6:33pm
Manchester United could clinch qualification for the Champions League last 16 when they host Benfica on Tuesday.
United will qualify from Group A if they win and CSKA Moscow fail to beat Basel, or if United draw and CSKA lose.
Jose Mourinho's side are currently enjoying a 19-game unbeaten run at Old Trafford in European competitions (including qualifiers, W15 D4), last tasting defeat in March 2013 against Real Madrid.
They boast a 100 per cent record in Group A after three matches, having beaten Benfica 1-0 in Portugal in their previous Champions League fixture thanks to Marcus Rashford's free-kick.
Jose Mourinho, who has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, said: "Our aim tomorrow is to qualify. Ten points would be OK to qualify but our main aim is to qualify first in the group.
"The statistics are what they are but Basel have had good results against CSKA and Benfica, a draw is not bad, but Benfica will give us a difficult match.
"They have their own ambition and pride and they will try to win, we just want to get to the last 16 by finishing first in the group."
Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba remain out through injury, as does Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones have spent time on the sidelines lately but both came through Saturday's Premier League win against Tottenham unscathed.
Benfica will be without Luisao and Andre Almeida - who are both suspended - while Jardel is injured and will not feature at Old Trafford.
Benfica have won only one of their 10 games against Manchester Utd, in all competitions (D2 L7), a 2-1 home win in the 2005/06 Champions League group stages.
Manchester Utd have also never failed to score against Benfica (10 games).
This is the first time that Benfica have lost their opening three games in the Champions League group stages; since the current format was set up in 2003/04, no team has ever lost their opening three group games and gone on to progress to the last 16.
The Portuguese side mustered 11 shots on matchday three, but failed to land a single one on target; they have recorded 0 shots on target in two of their three Champions League matches this season.
Mourinho's probably smirking right now because everybody is having a pop at him and he's got four points from two big games in the Premier League.
Benfica were poor in the first game and Mourinho will probably bring in Anthony Martial, because of his winner against Spurs, and Juan Mata as well and they'll hopefully be more expansive than their recent displays.
They are all but through already but I still think he'll play Romelu Lukaku because he needs a goal, and I think Mata will be out to prove a point as well.
Charlie predicts: 2-0 and Mata to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet)
Mourinho's men are well odds-on to win Group A and 11/1 sixth favourites to secure the Champions League trophy.
Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 9/4, while Jonas is considered the visitors' main threat at 8/1 to net first.