Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

Match Preview: FC Sheriff vs Manchester United

(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Manchester United’s tough start to the season continues as the Red Devils face a challenging trip to Romania where they face the Moldavan Champions FC Sheriff in the Europe League, in a bid to get back to winning ways in their last fixture before the international break.

The two teams had differing fortunes in match day 1 as FC Sheriff currently sit top of Group E after their 3-0 away win at Omania Nicosia whilst, United lost to Real Sociedad in a frustrating 1-0 home defeat from Erik’s men. Will they be able to get their European journey back on track in a hostile away environment?

Competition: Europe League
Venue: Sheriff Stadium
Kick Off: 5:45 UK Time
Channel: BT Sport

How do Manchester United look?

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Erik Ten Hag has named a similar squad to last week’s match against Real Sociedad. The standout is once again Marcus Rashford has been omitted from the 25-man squad, due to a knock he picked up against Arsenal which Erik confirmed: “He has a muscle injury”.

New signing Martin Dubravka will have to continue to wait for his debut as he drops out of the squad and, in his place, comes 18-year-old Radev Vitek, the FA Cup youth goalkeeper.

In other news, Aaron Wan Bissaka is still yet to make an appearance in the competition. The right-back is also not included in the squad and neither is defender Axel Tuanzebe.

Ten Hag continues to give the youngsters game time and the likes of Charlie McNeill, Zidane Iqbal and Alejandro Garnacho retain their inclusion in the squad.

The major injury news is once again based primarily around Anthony Martial who will hopefully be ready for selection again after the international break, who is out with an Achilles injury.

 Other than that, are no other significant injuries so Erik has a full squad to choose from.

“First, we have to see this game. Let’s focus on that, then we will see (on squad rotation).”

“We always play a strong team so tomorrow we will play a strong team”.

Opponents: FC Sheriff

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Sheriff Tiraspol are 20 times winners of the Moldavian Super Liga and are no easy opponent when it comes to European competition as recently as last year where they triumphed in a 2-1 shock away win at the Bernabéu. They came third that year only three points off Inter Milan proving they have quality within their side. Their key marksman Iyayi Atiemwen scored in the last round and is their most prolific player this season with 3 goals already to his name.  Midfielder Cedric Badolo is another one to look out for as he looked impressive in the last game week and is a Burkina Faso international whilst their ever-present centre-back Stjepan Radeljic is someone who puts his body on the line and has made over 50 appearances for FC Sheriff. 

Key Stats

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Manchester United have never played FC Sheriff before

Sheriff currently sits top and are unbeaten after their first 7 games (5W,2D) whilst, United are 5th (4W, 2L)

Sheriff lost to Victoria Plzen in their Champions League qualification

United picked up only 4 points away from home in Europe last season

Ronaldo’s longest goal drought is 587 Minutes, never has he not scored in the first 7 games of a season

Prediction

It’s a tough assignment for United and in a hostile atmosphere getting through the first 10-15 minutes will be critical. Ten Hag will no doubt tinker with the team selection again although, the experiment of Fred as a 10 shouldn’t be seen again and it could be the type of game for Ronaldo to get his season up and running. I see Sheriff causing problems with their midfielders Badolo and Diop protecting Sheriff’s back four but United should have enough quality to counter that in a resilient 3-1 display.

FC Sheriff 1-3 Manchester United

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