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Europa League Preview: Manchester United vs AC Milan

Manchester United vs AC Milan | Europa League RO16 1st Leg | Old Trafford | KO 17:55

Following their impressive, and somewhat surprising, 2-0 victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City at the weekend, Manchester United return to Old Trafford to face a strong AC Milan side in the Europa League.

However, with both sides suffering from a number of injuries, strength in depth may be key, with both United and Milan relying on rotational players.

How do Manchester United Look?

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United, who shocked many with their top-class display at the weekend, will have roughly the same squad available to them, as the one that beat City.

David De Gea, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Donny Van de Beek are all expected to be out for varying injury and personal reasons.

Marcus Rashford came off at The Etihad with an injury he picked up in the 71st minute, when working back to stop a counterattack, and is unlikely to feature against Milan.

On Rashford, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “I don’t think he’ll be available for tomorrow “, adding,“Even though normally I’m a very optimistic guy, I still think he’s going to be out tomorrow [Thursday] night and a doubt for the weekend”.

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Dean Henderson played a big role in United’s victory at the weekend; he looked commanding in his box, was vocal, and started the attack that gave The Reds their second goal of the game.

There have been questions over who United’s number one should be, but with De Gea in Spain due to the birth of his child, there will never be a better time for Henderson to prove himself to be good enough, and he is doing exactly that.

His self-belief is second to none, and that resonates on the pitch, and rubs off on his teammates, improving their confidence in both themselves and the goalkeeper, creating a more settled, comfortable back line.

Should his performances continue in the same vein, it will only be a matter of time before his status as number one becomes official.

Opposition: AC Milan

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AC Milan find themselves in a spookily similar situation to Manchester United.

They are a sleeping giant in European football, who are slowly on the rise again, sitting second in the league behind their local rivals, but are looking to become the number one force in their country once again.

This has largely been down to the brilliance of former United man Zlatan Ibrahimović, but the Swede will be out of the clash on Thursday night due to a muscle injury, so will not be in the squad on his return to Old Trafford.

Other major absentees for Milan include Ismaël Bennacer, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Theo Hernandez, Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic.

With Rebic, Mandzukic and Ibrahimović out, The Rossoneri only have two recognised forwards available- Rafael Leao and Riccardo Tonin.

Manchester United loanee Diogo Dalot is eligible for selection.

Key Stats

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Manchester United and AC Milan have faced each other 10 times, with each team winning five games.

United have won the last two meetings between the pair, both coming in 2010, winning the first match 3-2, and the second 4-0.

Prediction

Manchester United 2-0 AC Milan

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