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Rooney penalty can’t mask the problems facing Man Utd’s attack

| 25.11.2010

In the absence of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United’s defence once against stood firm as they recorded their fifth clean sheet in five Champions League games.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side need just a point in their home tie with Valencia to end as Group C winners, which is likely to mean an easier draw in the second round as Man Utd look decent value at 8/1 to win the Champions League.

Ferguson’s side are some way adrift of Barcelona (5/2), Real Madrid (7/2) and Chelsea (9/2) in the Champions League winners market, but the three time winners of Europe’s top honour know how to reach the final with two appearances in the last three years.

But the return of Wayne Rooney failed to inspire a Man Utd attack that has scored just six goals in five of their Champions League ties.

Ferguson’s first choice attack failed to break down a resolute Rangers defence in Scotland last night, and Dimitar Berbatov continues his barren run in front of goal – It has been over two years since the Bulgarian troubled the scorers in the Champions League.

Antonio Valencia was instrumental in helping Man Utd recover from the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo last season, and the loss of the winger’s service has been a huge blow to the Man Utd strikers.

Valencia should return to the United side by the time the knock-out stages come around, and the Ecuadorian could be the catalyst that starts Man Utd’s charge to the final – although signing a goal scoring central midfielder in January would also go a long way.

The central trio of Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes have produced just five goals between them this season, and Man Utd have been too reliant on Nani and Park Ji Sung to bail them out.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.