Manchester United are back in Europa League action on Wednesday evening with what should be a walk in the park against LASK in the last 16.
The Reds lead 5-0 from March’s first leg and they can look forward to the quarter-finals knowing there’s absolutely no chance they’ll lose 6-0 in midweek.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s aim at the beginning of the season was to get United back into the Champions League. That objective was secured over a week ago when we finished third in the Premier League.
Winning the Europa League also gets you into the Champions League, so this is solely about lifting a trophy for Solskjaer and his players now. It would make his first full season in charge a successful one.
United’s biggest aggregate win in a two-legged knockout tie was 12-0 against Anderlecht in the 1956-57 European Cup first round. However, with some key players expected to get a rest for the game against LASK, I highly doubt we’ll win 7-0 or more…
Let’s just play the match, win and work towards winning the quarter-finals rather than worrying about a pointless stat.
LASK were recently docked 12 points for breaking coronavirus safety rules in practise sessions and have lost two of their 10 league games since returning to action in June. It’s been so bad for the Austrian side that head coach Valerien Ismael was recently sacked and new boss Dominik Thalhammer’s first competitive game is at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Solskjaer is unlikely to field anything close to his strongest possible line-up on Wednesday.
We could see the likes of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Fred and Scott McTominay given a chance to push for a recall in the latter stages of the competition.
Although Mason Greenwood has scored more Europa League goals than any other United player this season, Odion Ighalo should start through the middle, with potentially James and Lingard on either side.
Prediction – Manchester United 2-0 LASK
The lads go into this game after a much-needed 10-day break after beating Leicester City in the Premier League finale. There’s no pressure on them and they can play with a smile on their face. I still expect high standards, even if it’s our second string side on the pitch because they’re playing LASK, who I think I’m being kind to in my scoreline prediction.