Monday, July 24, 2017

Prediction: Manchester United vs Fenerbahce

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

Manchester United trail group leaders Fenerbahce one point ahead of the clash at Old Trafford that will be a perfect opportunity for the Red Devils to stake their claim for the first place in Group A. The Canaries, on the other hand, will attempt to make amends for a couple of poor results on domestic stage with a strong performance against one of world’s most famous clubs.

Manchester United

Chances are that Jose Mourinho and his star players would rather play Champions League football this term, but they are forced to “waste” their talent in Europe’s second rate competition, and the lack of motivation has really showed in their first two fixtures. After his under-strength side were beaten by the red-hot Feyenoord at De Kuip, the Portuguese manager reverted to a stronger side when his side played host to Zorya, but the Red Devils again produced an uninspiring performance, event if they ended up 1-0 winners. Manchester United have since shared spoils with Stoke City and Liverpool in the Premier League, and with the high-profile clash with Chelsea scheduled for Sunday, Jose Mourinho faces a kind of a dilemma. Namely, his players could really use a morale-boosting win in midweek, but, on the other hand, he needs to keep his key men fresh for the game at Stamford Bridge, and everything suggests some regular starters will be rested against Fenerbahce. Nevertheless, seeing that there will be quite a few back-up players looking to impress the manager, Manchester United can be trusted to attack the opposition from the off and attempt to score two goals in a single Europa League game for the first time this season.

Team News

Jose Mourinho has moved to confirm that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recovered from injury and the Armenia hotshot is expected to start.

Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin are back after missing the Liverpool derby, meaning that Phil Jones is the only unavailable footballer.

Fenerbahce

Fenerbahce finished the previous Super Lig campaign well ahead of bitter rivals Galatasaray, but eventually lost the title chase with Besiktas and had to compete in the Champions League qualifying rounds. The Canaries slipped at the first hurdle as they were eliminated by Monaco, but at least managed to secure their place in the Europa League group phase. Numerous changes to the playing squad in the summer transfer window definitely made it more difficult for Fenerbahce in the opening exchanges and Dick Advocaat’s charges have been pretty inconsistent over the last couple of months. The Canaries did manage to stabilise their form and recorded straight wins over Fenerbahce, Gaziantepspor and Feyenoord, but back to back setbacks against Osmanlispor and Alanyaspor created new problems. The good news is that the Canaries head to Old Trafford with four points to their tally after sharing spoils with Zorya and defeating Feyenoord, but they will have to be at their best if they want to get something from this match. With both teams scoring in five of their last six fixtures in all competitions, it is clear where the problems lie, and the visiting defence will be up against some very good attackers on Thursday evening.

Team News

Volkan Sen returns from a lengthy suspension and he is expected to start, but it remains to be seen whether Robin van Persie will keep his place in the side.

Meanwhile, Jeremain Lens, Ozan Tufan and Fernandao are all expected to miss out through injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Man Utd won one of two matches vs Fenerbahce at Old Trafford (L1)
  • Red Devils won 6-2 last time the two sides met on English soil
  • Both teams scored in three of Man Utd’s last four home games
  • Both teams scored in five of Fenerbahce’s last six fixtures
  • Canaries striker Van Persie had bagged 48 Premiership goals for Man Utd

Conclusion

Even if some star players might be rested, Manchester United will want to make amends for some under-par results on domestic stage and we fully expect them to adopt a positive approach. And since this is also the only way Fenerbahce know how to play, chances are we could see goals galore at Old Trafford.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

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