Down The Wings

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Europa League Preview: Manchester United vs L.A.S.K Linz

Manchester United vs Lask Linz

Manchester United vs L.A.S.K Linz (5-0) | Europa League | RO16 2nd Leg | KO: 20:00 GMT | BT Sports

Having already secured Champions League football for next season, Manchester United have a somewhat of a free run at silverware in the UEFA Europa League, without the added pressure of trying to qualify for Europe’s elite competition.

The Reds enter Wednesday’s match with a 5-0 aggregate lead over the Austrian side, with one foot firmly in the quarter final, and will be extremely confident of reaching the latter stages of the competition, with the prospect of playing either Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in the next round.

How do Manchester United Look?

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Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones appear to be the only confirmed absentees from Wednesday night’s match.

However, it is widely anticipated that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field a much weaker and inexperienced lineup against LASK, as opposed to the squads we saw named in the run-in to the end of the Premier League season.

Solskjaer has confirmed that Jesse Lingard will start at Old Trafford, saying “Jesse will be starting tomorrow but the team? won’t be too different”, hinting at some form of rotation, whilst appearing to suggest that there will still be a strong ‘core’ of first team players in the squad.

Youngsters Teden Mengi and Ethan Laird were spotted training with the first team this week, and many fans will be hopeful of seeing the pair of defenders start on Wednesday, with a flourish of expectation and potential surrounding the pair, due to their impressive performances for United’s youth teams over the past couple of seasons.

Other than the names mentioned, it will be hard to predict the starting eleven that Solskjaer will go with against LASK- will he opt with David de Gea or Sergio Romero in goal? Or will he give Lee Grant or Nathan Bishop an extremely rare start in between the sticks? And will Odion Ighalo get to continue his dream story of representing United in Europe? All of these questions will be answered by Solskjaer an hour prior to kick-off, at 19:00 on Wednesday evening.

Opposition: LASK

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A team not many Manchester United fans had even heard of prior to their Europa League draw against the side, LASK travel to Old Trafford with very little to lose, with no expectations, and no realistic sight of damaging United’s road to the final of the competition.

Their top scorer this season is Brazilian forward Klauss, who has chipped in with nine Bundesliga goals this season, and will pose the most threat to United’s backline, albeit a minimal threat at that.

Other than the Brazilian, the team placed fourth in the Austrian League lack players who can cause United any harm, and should see their European campaign end in defeat at the theatre of dreams.

Key Stats

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LASK did not register a single shot on target against United in the reverse fixture, showing the side’s lack of options to cause The Red’s any problems at Old Trafford.

The reverse fixture was Manchester United’s first behind-closed-doors match, at the beginning of the stoppage of worldwide football, and almost five months later, Solskjaer’s men will finally have the chance to put the tie to bed.

Prediction

Manchester United 2-0 LASK. Goals from Jesse Lingard and Odion Ighalo.

Match Preview Writer

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