Andriy Pyatov is inconsistent at best, dodgy at worst - United will hope he is off form this evening.
Manchester United have endured one of their worst ever starts to a season in recent times, and while a difficult transition was expected under a new manager in the form of David Moyes, nobody expected things to be going this badly.
United’s defeat to West Brom at Old Trafford last weekend came a week after they were thrashed by Manchester City at The Etihad – and people are already starting to doubt whether Moyes is up to the job of following Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
Now, if you could choose somewhere to play football in Europe you would not want to in the midst of a mini-crisis there is little doubt, this place would certainly get a mention – the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine.
On the opposite side of the continent and in one of continental football’s most intimidating atmospheres sits the Donbass – home to Shakhtar Donetsk. Tonight United travel to Ukraine, needing a result.
Truth be told so do Shakhtar. For a team who usually canter to the Ukrainian title this season has been a struggle so far. They currently sit in third place, six points behind top spot Metalist Kharkiv.
Defeats against Karpaty Lyviv and Dnipro Dniproprovetsk have not been helped by draws against Metalist and local rivals Metalurh Donetsk – with one player coming in for particular blame.
Now we know, from England’s several run-ins with Ukraine over the past few years, that goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is something of a loose cannon between the sticks.
He has excellent reflexes, distribution and over 40 caps for the Ukrainian national team – but he is also prone to the odd goalkeeping error, that often prove costly.
This season those caught up with him as he was dropped from the first-team by Mircea Lucescu, with Anton Kanibolotskiy coming in to replace him. However Pyatov was reinstated after the Karpaty defeat and should start tonight against United.
Depending on what sort of mood the fickle goalkeeper is in he can either be a leveller in the intimidating Donbass, or indeed the final guardian of an impenetrable goalmouth.
For Moyes’ sake we hope he is in one of those moods where nothing sticks, and he decides to spill the occasional chance United’s way.
image: © jbl767