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Europa League Preview: AC Milan vs Manchester United

AC Milan vs Manchester United 18/04/2021 Europa League

AC Milan vs Manchester United (1-1) | Europa League RO16 2nd Leg | San Siro | KO: 20:00 GMT | BT Sport

Manchester United fell to a last-minute equaliser from Simon Kjaer in the opening leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against AC Milan last week, setting up an enticing second leg on Thursday night at the San Siro.

Both sides will have key players back in action for the clash, meaning whoever is to progress through to the quarter-final will have to fight to earn their place there.
Should United go through, they have to be considered favourites for the Europa League, having knocked out one of the strongest sides in the competition.

How do Manchester United Look?

Manchester United enter the match on the back of a well-deserved 1-0 win at home to West Ham United at the weekend, with lots of fresh faces possibly available for selection on Thursday.

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The biggest news for United fans is that Paul Pogba has travelled to Milan, having missed a large number of matches since his injury against Everton last month.

The addition of Paul Pogba back into the midfield will allow The Reds to offer so much more creatively, meaning they will not have to rely on Bruno Fernandes to create chances, meaning there will be much more attacking intent from them.

Donny Van de Beek also travelled, and is expected to be in the squad, but is most likely to start on the bench, given the amount of game time he has received when fit so far this season.

David de Gea is available for selection following his return from Spain for the birth of his child, and it will be interesting to see who United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opts to play in goal against The Rossoneri.

Should the Spaniard start in the clash, then it will be a clear indication that Dean Henderson is now considered to be the first-choice goalkeeper at United, as Solskjaer tends to play his second choice in the cup competitions.

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Edinson Cavani, who has struggled with injuries since signing for The Reds, is unavailable once again, having picked up yet another slight niggle in training.

On Cavani, Solskjaer said “Unfortunately, it looks like Edinson has got a bit of a reaction to training today and didn’t feel ready to travel”.

Eric Bailly is also out, whilst Shola Shoretire has not travelled due to youth team obligations on Friday.

Opposition: AC Milan

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The biggest news from the AC Milan camp is that ex Manchester United man Zlatan Ibrahimović is expected to be back to face his former club.

The Swede announced in the week that he is returning from international retirement, and is looking as strong and impressive as ever, and will undoubtedly be the biggest threat posed to United.

His big, powerful frame will cause problems for The Reds’ centre back pairing (most likely Victor Lindelöf and Harry Maguire) and will need to be managed carefully.

 Ante Rebic, Alessio Romagnoli, Davide Calabria and Rafael Leao are all unavailable for the hosts.

Key Stats

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Manchester United have won just five away matches against Italian opposition in 18 attempts.

AC Milan have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine home European matches.

Prediction

AC Milan 1-2 Manchester United.

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