Friday, September 18, 2020

Prediction: Manchester United vs LASK

Verdict: Manchester United -2 handicap

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

With all but mission accomplished after their first-leg romp back in March, Manchester United will simply be looking to officially finish the job when they host LASK on Wednesday night.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, while Manchester United might have been left heartbroken by their FA Cup defeat at Wembley last month, the former Premier League champions couldn’t have wished for a better response. Ending this year’s extended campaign with what turned out to be a routine 2-0 win away at the King Power, the Reds managed to secure a top-four finish at the final hour. Likely to still be boosted their victory against Leicester last time out, Head Coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen his side really start to shine throughout the second half of the 2019/2020 campaign. Securing a Champions League return for next season, United have remarkably lost just one of their last 22 matchups across all formats either side of the enforced break, a run that stems all the way back to January 22nd. Really seen as one of the leading contenders to lift the Europa League title later this summer, Wednesday’s hosts also have a growing reputation for their stunning recent displays in the final third. Along with starlet Mason Greenwood really going from strength to strength, it is well worth keeping an eye out for new talisman, Bruno Fernandes. Converting from the spot against Leicester last week, the former Sporting Lisbon playmaker also has six European goals this season.

Team News

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that fringe midfielder Jesse Lingard will make a rare start on Wednesday night.

Elsewhere, finding opportunities hard to come by during the second half of the year, both Daniel James and Andreas Pereira could also feature.

LASK

As for the visitors, while Manchester United might have managed to end their own domestic campaign in the midst of a real purple patch, the same cannot be said for a struggling LASK. Unable to pick up what was a much-needed morale boost and hit with a shock 2-0 defeat against little-known Slovakian outfit Senica in a friendly contest last week, Valérien Ismaël’s men also failed to secure a top-three finish in the Bundesliga after a dreadful end to the year. Including a 3-0 drumming at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg on their season finale, Die Laskler lost each of their final three domestic matchups on the bounce and have continued to show some glaring issues in front of goal. Drawing another blank from behind closed doors last week, LASK have managed to bag just a single strike in over 400 minutes of action. Enduing their worst run in recent memory, the Austrian strugglers should rightfully be concerned by their woeful last meeting against Wednesday’s hosts. When LASK welcomed the former Premier League champions to the Raiffeisen Arena back in March, they were hit with a 5-0 drumming and should be in for what is another overwhelming test on foreign soil in midweek.

Team News

Ahead of their unenviable trip to Old Trafford in midweek, LASK have no fresh injury concerns or suspensions to worry about.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off in the first-leg back in March, Manchester United landed a thumping 5-0 win.
  • LASK finished off this year’s Austrian Bundesliga campaign with three defeats on the bounce.
  • More worrying, Wednesday’s guests have managed to record just a single goal in over 400 minutes of action.
  • Bruno Fernandes has recorded six Europa League goals in this year’s tournament, no player has recorded more strikes.
  • The Red Devils have lost just one of their previous 22 matches across all formats, a run that stems back to January 22nd.

Conclusion

On paper, LASK could not have wished for a more overwhelming test in midweek. In the midst of what was a woeful end to this year’s campaign and also blown away in shocking fashion thanks to a 2-0 defeat against little-known Slovakian outfit Senica, Manchester United will be looking to make another statement this week. Securing a top-four finish in the Premier League this summer and on a remarkable run of form that has seen them lose just one of their previous 22 matchups across all competitions, Wednesday’s hosts already have one foot firmly in the quarter-finals of this year’s Europa League. Picking up a 5-0 romp when they made the trip to Austria back in March, it is hard to see anything other than a similar outcome in midweek.

Verdict: Manchester United -2 handicap

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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