MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 15: Javier Hernandez (R) of Manchester United celebrates with teammate Wayne Rooney (L) as he scores the second goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Marseille at Old Trafford on March 15, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Chicharito Brace Sees Manchester United Into Champions League Quarterfinals

Manchester United and Marseille played to a scoreless draw three weeks ago in France. SB Nation Soccer Editor Richard Farley looks at the clubs' return engagement.

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Manchester United FC Vs. Marseille, 2011 UEFA Champions League, Lineup: Nani, Javier Hernández In; Fletcher, Vidic Out Of Starting XI

Manchester United's selection has just been announced, and in addition to confirming a number of notable absences, there are two "surprise" inclusions. Forgive the punctuation, because Nani and Javier Hernández are not huge surprises, but under the circumstances, their inclusions are still noteworthy.

Nani is making his first appearance since suffering (what can only be termed as) a wound at the boot of Jamie Carragher nine days ago at Anfield. He gets the call at right wing over Antonio Valencia, who makes the bench.

Javier Hernández seems to be firming up a true rotation at forward for Alex Ferguson. Dimitar Berbatov, despite leading the Premier League in goals, is on the bench, just as he was for recent matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.

But the main news from United's selection is the omissions. We knew Rio Ferdinand would be out. Nemanja Vidic's exclusion broke before the lineups. Also gone is Darren Fletcher, who would have been an automatic inclusion in midfield.

Manchester United, Starting XI: Van der Sar / O'Shead, Smalling, Brown, Evra / Nani, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs / Rooney Hernández

Bench: Kuszazck, Rafael da Silva, Fabio da Silva, Gibson, Obertan, Valencia, Berbatov


Manchester United FC Vs. Marseille, Reports: Nemanja Vidic Out Of Today's UEFA Champions League Match

News surrounding Manchester United center half Nemanja Vidic's fitness has deteriorated since word of him picking up a knock leaked after Saturday's match against Arsenal. Now comes two reports from reliable sources that United's captain is out of today's UEFA Champions League match with Marseille, his calf injury set to keep him out of Alex Ferguson's team:

This is not confirmed and could be the usual smoke and mirrors stuff, but I'm hearing Vidic is out of tonight's gameless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Nemanja Vidic is out of Manchester Utd's game against Marseille tonight - trouble for United?less than a minute ago via HootSuite

What are the effects? Potentially huge. With Rio Ferdinand already out, Vidic's absence leaves United with a center half pairing of Wes Brown and Chris Smalling. The last time that duo started, United lost 3-1 at Liverpool.

It's as if a bicycle with one flat tire just saw the tube pop on the other. Now Alex Ferguson is like David in American Flyers, left to carry his crippled machine across the finish line just to quality for the race's next stage. The good news, if you believe in the universal truth of movie analogies: David went on to win the The Hell of the West, though he almost lost his brother along the way.

Wait. Where was I? Oh, yes. United and Marseille.

With a suspect defense, the onus will be on the midfield to protect the back line, making Darren Fletcher's potential absence a huge miss. Michael Carrick will have to have a great day not only winning the ball from the likes of Lucho Gonzalez, Mathieu Valbuena and Andre-Pierre Gignac, but his accurate passing will be needed to promote a possession game United may use to protect their defense.

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