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Manchester United's Javier Hernandez is expected to start tonight's game.
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez is expected to start tonight's game.

3 things to look out for in tonight’s Champions League matches

Will Joe Hart and Javier Hernandez stake a claim for more regular starting spots in this evening’s games?
Nov 27th 2013, 8:15 AM 3,770 16

1. Hernandez must prove his worth

MANCHESTER UNITED CAN seal their place in the last 16 with a win against Bayer Leverkusen tonight, though a loss could put others right back into the reckoning for qualification and that all-important top spot.

They will have to prevail without their star striker Robin van Persie, with the Dutchman not travelling to Germany due to injury.

The player likely to be entrusted with the responsibility of replacing him — Javier Hernandez — has hinted recently that he may look for first-team football elsewhere if his chances at United continue to be limited.

A few goals in tonight’s vital clash would certainly do his cause no harm however, though the prospect of him being consistently picked ahead of Van Persie and Wayne Rooney remains unlikely regardless.

Moreover, on the rare occasions that Hernandez has been handed a start this season, his form has been decidedly indifferent.

2. Can Juventus finally find some form?

When the Champions League draw was initially made, many commentators would have predicted a straightforward passage into the next round for Real Madrid and Juventus.

And while that has turned out to be the case for the former, the situation is anything but simple for the Italian club.

Juve currently find themselves bottom of Group B, which also includes Galatasaray and København.

If they can’t beat the Danish side at home this evening, then their qualification hopes will be put into serious doubt (or they even might end depending on how the results work out).

3. How many goals will Man City score?

Under Manuel Pellegrini, City have become renowned for putting teams to the sword and then some.

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The Eastlands club have already found the net 34 times this season — at least 10 more than any other side in the Premier League.

They face relatively mediocre opposition in the form of Viktoria Plzen this evening, so it would be a big surprise if they don’t add to their already considerable tally.

There is also an intriguing sub-plot to the game, with Joe Hart set to return to the City side for the first time since being dropped. Given that the club have already guaranteed their place in the next round, all eyes will surely be on the England goalkeeper.

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Paul Fennessy


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