Will Manchester United keep up their 100% Champions League record this season against Group A’s bottom side Benfica? Here’s what the stats are suggesting…
Manchester United have lost only one of their ten meetings with Benfica
In all competitions, Manchester United have beaten Benfica seven times, drawing twice and losing just once. That solitary Benfica victory came in the form of a 2-1 home win in the 2005/06 Champions League group stages. A fortnight ago, Manchester United won the reverse 1-0 in Portugal with a little help from 18-year-old Benfica goalkeeper Mile Svilar, who carried Marcus Rashford’s looping free-kick into his own goal. The hosts won’t want to rely on another opposition mistake to get a result at Old Trafford.
In ten encounters, Benfica have never kept a clean sheet against Manchester United
Benfica came so close to keeping their first ever clean sheet against Manchester United until Svilar’s mishap at Estadio da Luz. The Red Devils have scored 23 goals across those ten meetings, including four in the 1968 European Cup final, the 50th anniversary of which will be celebrated at the end of the season. In the Champions League, Manchester United have won two and drawn one of their three home matches against Benfica, most recently drawing 2-2 in November 2011 – Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher were the scorers that day.
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Benfica have lost their three opening games in the Champions League group stages for the first time
The Portuguese champions have made the worst possible start in Europe this season, losing all three of their games, conceding eight goals and scoring just once. The 1-0 defeat against Manchester United was far from embarrassing when you consider Benfica lost 5-0 at Basel the previous matchday, a truly unexpected scoreline. Rui Vitoria’s side have failed to land a single shot on target in two of their three Champions League matches so far this term, including against Manchester United. That will have to change if they are to take anything away from Old Trafford.
Manchester United haven’t lost a European game at Old Trafford since March 2013
Unlike Benfica, Jose Mourinho’s side have made the best possible start to their Champions League campaign. They’ve won all three of their matches, putting them in a commanding position at the top of Group A. Those victories have extended Manchester United’s unbeaten home record in European competition to 19 games, of which they’ve won 15 and drawn four (including qualifiers). They haven’t lost at Old Trafford in Europe since a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2012/13 Champions League quarter-finals.
Romelu Lukaku has failed to score in each of his last five appearances in all competitions
After scoring in nine of his first ten competitive appearances for Manchester United in all competitions, Romelu Lukaku is yet to find the net in October, drawing blanks against Liverpool, Benfica, Huddersfield, Swansea (EFL Cup) and Tottenham. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford has scored four goals and provided two assists in his last seven appearances in Europe, including two goals in three Champions League outings this term. Lukaku and Rashford were mostly ineffective as a partnership against Spurs on Saturday – will that change on the European stage?