Manchester United host Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are up 2-0 on aggregate following last week’s clean sheet win at Amsterdam ArenA, courtesy of second-half goals from Ashley Young and Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be without the services of Wayne Rooney, who has been ruled out due to a throat infection.
“Wayne is out tomorrow,” said Fergie. “He has a really bad throat.
“There were traces of it in Amsterdam and we gave him some medication but it got worse.
“He has been in bed over the weekend and came in today for the first time and we are trying hard to get him right for Sunday.”
Despite the absence of Rooney, United are big favorites to advance to the next phase of the competition, and rightfully so.
Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Nani, Ashley Young, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to all play a part in tomorrow’s game, while 18-year-old starlet Paul Pogba will likely be on the bench for the Red Devils.
Manchester United (2/5) v Ajax Amsterdam (9/1); Draw (4/1)
Manchester United v Ajax: Match Preview
United enter the second leg of this tie having won three of their last four games, while Ajax have won just two of their last seven fixtures in all competitions.
These two sides may be moving in opposite directions, which is not good news for Ajax. But then again, visiting Old Trafford down 2-0 on aggregate is not the best news either.
Players to Watch
Mexican international Javier Hernandez has seemingly regained his 2010-11 form for the Red Devils, having scored in his last three appearances for United in all competitions.
Furthermore, keep an eye on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who has been on scintillating form for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
The Spaniard’s tremendous saves versus Chelsea and Ajax, in the first leg, have put him in the headlines. This time, for all the right reasons.
For Ajax, Serbian international Miralem Sulejmani is surely the danger man.
Sulejmani has bagged 11 goals and one assist in 24 appearances in all competitions for the Dutch giants in 2011-12.
If Ajax are to shock Manchester United at Old Trafford, Sulejmani will need to be on top form.
In addition, Ajax shot-stopper Kenneth Vermeer will have to be at his best in between the sticks on Thursday night.
Too much United, 2-0 Red Devils.