Manchester United are set to begin their Europa League campaign on Thursday, as they travel to Denmark to face off against FC Midtjylland for the first time ever in the knock-out stage of the competition.
The Red Devils were sent crashing out of the Champions League earlier this season by VfL Wolfsburg, but they can redeem themselves in the eyes of their fans by going all the way in the Europa League. Although it may be considered as the second tier of European football, the winner of the Europa League is rewarded with a spot in next year’s Champions League — a prize worth fighting for.
The competition has been tough in the Premier League this season, and with Manchester United faltering and likely to finish outside the top 4, this could be their best chance of competing in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Possible starting lineup (4-1-4-1): Andersen; Bak, Bodurov, Hansen, Novak; Sparv; Sisto, Olsson, Singh, Royer; Pusic
Possible starting line-up (3-4-3): De Gea; McNair, Smalling, Blind; Love, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Depay; Mata, Keane, Martial
- This is the first time that Manchester United and FC Midtjylland will play against each other.
- FC Midtjylland have not played a competitive match since 10th December 2015 because the Danish League has been on a winter break.
- Manchester United have conceded a minimum of 2 goals in each of their last 3 Europa League games.
- The Red Devils have also lost all 3 of those matches.
- This is only the second time United are participating in the Europa League, both times as a consequence of being knocked out of the Champions League.
FC Midtjylland 1-3 Manchester United
This seems like a fairly straightforward fixture for the Red Devils, but they do seem to have made a habit of shooting themselves in the foot this past season. Louis van Gaal will be fielding a youthful side, but given the woes of the regular starting XI, this could be a chance for some new players to make a name for themselves.
Expect Manchester United to win this game by at least a two-goal margin, but the Danish side could score one as well which would be an achievement for the club in itself.
Manchester United – 13/20
Draw – 3/1
FC Midtjylland – 53/10