Manchester United face a 6,000 mile round trip to Kazakhstan to take on FC Astana in the Europa League group stages.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already secured their place through to knockout phase but will be looking to ensure they top the group.
United have yet to concede a goal in four Europa League matches, and face an Astana side who have so far yet to pick up a point.
The reverse fixture at Old Trafford was a drab affair to say the least; Mason Greenwood scored the only goal in the second-half to spare Solskjaer’s blushes from a 0-0 draw.
We expect Solskjaer to select a young side on Thursday; it’s the perfect opportunity to give youngsters an opportunity with little at stake. The Reds have three games in six days against Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City, which the United boss will no doubt have one eye on.
While young players such as Mason Greenwood and James Garner should start, Juan Mata should also get a run out on Thursday. The Spaniard has been used sparingly by Solskjaer since being handed a new contract and should be selected to provide some experience in the starting eleven.
Axel Tuanzebe came on against Sheffield United late on after returning to training last week and is likely to start in central defence. Harry Maguire has started every Premier League game this season and has earned a rest ahead of a busy December period.
Incredibly, as revealed by BBC Sport journalist Simon Stone below, Max Taylor has made his first senior Manchester United squad, barely a year after starting chemotherapy treatment for cancer. We don’t expect the 19-year-old to feature, but it’s a fantastic achievement and everyone at Stretty News congratulates Max for his call-up.
19-year-old Max Taylor in @ManUtd squad for Astana, just over 12 months after starting chemotherapy treatment for cancer. What an inspirational story.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) November 26, 2019
Kick off time and TV information
United’s game against Astana kicks off at the unusual time of 15:50 in the UK. The match will be broadcasted on BT Sport 2.
Despite the expectation that Solskjaer will field a youthful side, we still expect the Reds to come away with victory. We think Mason Greenwood will get on the scoresheet in Kazakhstan. 0-2.