Sergio Romero is expected to start ahead of David de Gea as Manchester United lock horns with LASK in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League.
The Europa League returns to action on Wednesday as Manchester United get ready to host Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub, better known as LASK, in the second leg of the Round of 16. The only expected debutant in this game will be United’s new kit, launched on Tuesday.
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Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has hinted at some changes to the team from their game against Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League. In his pre-match conference, the Norwegian manager confirmed that Jesse Lingard would be starting against LASK, but the rest of the spots are still up for grabs.
“We know that it will be a difficult game. It wasn’t a 5-0 game [in the first leg]. We scored three goals in the last five, so of course, we know that we have to perform. There’s opportunities for players [who do well in this game] to play in the quarters if we get through,” the Manchester United boss said.
Lingard is expected to take up the spot in the hole and will be aided by Juan Mata, who will start on the right wing. Daniel James got his first start for Manchester United in an entire month playing as the second striker against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. He is expected to feature against LASK on the left flank. Odion Ighalo will lead the line for the Red Devils.
Scott McTominay is likely to start as one half of the double pivot in the centre of the park and will be partnered by Fred. This duo started in the first leg as well and will, in all probability, retain their spots as Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic will be given some well-deserved rest.
There are several spots open in defence, with Ethan Laird and Diogo Dalot expected to fight for a place on the right side of the Manchester United back-line. But, the latter is tipped to start, playing one of his last games in the red shirt. Brandon Williams will likely start as the left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw, who picked up an injury against Southampton last month.
Eric Bailly could partner Timothy Fosu-Mensah at the heart of the Manchester United defence, with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof being rested. Phil Jones was in contention to start this game, but has failed to return from injury.
Solskjaer updated about Jones’s situation as well, saying, “Phil has been training here, he’s not been not match-fit, but he’s been getting closer, so maybe he can join in in Germany. We’ll see how he progresses over the next few days.”
Finally, David de Gea will likely be benched for Sergio Romero, who was unexpectedly named as the substitute in the FA Cup semi-final – a decision that probably cost them a spot in the final.
Manchester United Prediced XI: Romero; Dalot, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Williams; McTominay, Fred; Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo