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Europa League Preview: AS Roma vs Manchester United (2-6)

Manchester United vs Roma Graphic

AS Roma vs Manchester United (2-6) | Europa League Semifinal 2nd leg | Stadio Olimpico | KO 20:00 GMT | BT Sport

It’s been a hectic week at Manchester United despite the last time Solskjaer’s Reds took the pitch was in this fixture’s first leg. Sunday saw United’s game vs Liverpool postponed due to a rampant fan protest against the Glazers’ ownership of the club. While the players were kept in their hotel, protesting fans took to the Old Trafford pitch in a bid to have their feelings heard.

With a four-goal cushion against Roma, United have a comfortable start to their next four fixtures which are set to take place within seven days…

How do Manchester United look?

While many within the United’s camp would’ve relished the opportunity to compound Liverpool’s Champions League qualification woes, the postponement may have come as a blessing in disguise. In the immediate short term that is…

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As there was no game this weekend, Solskjaer’s men should be well rested for this fixture. The likes of Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani, who in the past have shown that relentless games may be too much for them, are now looking at the prospect of starting this game. Saying that however, it is important to note United are four goals to the good so there is no need to rely on the big guns for this one. One would hope that’s the case anyway.

In his press conference, Solskjaer was asked how much of a toll the lack of a weekend game has had on his plans. The Norwegian said:

“It has changed the whole cycle, of course, it has done. We had a game Thursday and prepared for Sunday again. Sunday would have been the perfect day to test them again, physically, but it was more of a mental challenge.

“It changes the whole thing, the whole plan. But you have to be adaptable and with the world that we live in now, you can’t think that it’s going to be… that you get the fixture list in August and it won’t change. The boys have been terrific at that, at adapting to different challenges.” He added.

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Daniel James has been added to United’s list of absentees to this game, along with Anthony Martial who recently returned to train individually and Phil Jones.

Opposition: AS Roma

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While United fans were on the pitch protesting for a change of ownership and United’s board structure, Roma’s board made to proceedings on the pitch. Roma announced that Jose Mourinho would be the new manager at the end of the season. The news will likely leave a bitter taste in the mouth of current head coach Paulo Fonseca who was probably hoping to pull off one of Europe’s biggest comebacks with some added job security.

However, looking at Roma’s form in recent weeks it is understandable that a decision had to be made. With only one win in their last seven and Jose Mourinho out of a job, the decision-makers in Rome had to act.

In terms of their team shape, an injury-ravaged Roma will be without their first-choice keeper, who is set to be sidelined for the rest of the season. Pau Lopez’s replacement last week was Antonio Mirante, who despite not playing at the weekend is likely to step in between the sticks. Jordan Veretout and Leonardo Spinazzola are also doubts after their early withdrawals last Thursday.

Key Stats

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Despite the Giallorossi’s decent record in the Europa League this season, they are without a victory in all competitions in their last six.

Conversely, Manchester United are unbeaten in their last six travels to Italian shores.

Prediction

AS Roma 0-2 Manchester United.

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