Sunday, May 9, 2021

Prediction: Manchester United vs Roma

Verdict: Manchester United win & over 1.5 goals

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

Looking to gain an early advantage in their Europa League semi-final first-leg on Thursday night, Manchester United will welcome Roma to an empty Old Trafford.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, although Manchester United might have played out that dull 0-0 stalemate against rivals Leeds last weekend, The Reds are cruising towards a Champions League return for next season. Holding a 12-point buffer from dropping out of the top-four in England’s top-flight, many feel that the former Premier League champions will put all their eggs in the Europa League basket. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer smelling a golden chance to lift his first piece of silverware in this year’s tournament, United have largely impressed on either side of the international break. Eventually cruising past Spanish outfit Granada earlier in the month thanks to a deserved 4-0 aggregate romp, Thursday’s hosts have lost just one of their last 21 straight contests across all formats, a run that stems back to the end of January. Installed as the leading pick to lift this year’s Europa League crown, Solskjaer should be boosted by his side’s continued success on home soil. Winning each of their last four straight contests at Old Trafford, The Reds should be looking to lay down a similar marker this week.

Team News

The trio of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay will all miss out on Thursday night as they serve a one-match suspension.

While both Anthony Martial and Phil Jones might miss out due to injury this week, they’re Manchester United’s only real concerns.

Roma

As for the visitors, putting in another worrying display over the weekend, Roma have continued to gain a reputation for their inconsistencies this year. With numerous reports over the past month that Head Coach Paulo Fonseca will be replaced from his role at The Stadio Olimpico come the end of the season, the Italian outfit find themselves in a real uphill battle if they’re to secure any kind of European football for next season. Slipping down to seventh in the Serie A table and now six points adrift of finding a route back into the top-six, the pressure is firmly on the former Braga boss. Although I Giallorossi might have managed to come past Dutch giants Ajax in a lively affair earlier in the month, Roma have failed to win any of their last four matchups across all formats. Coming off the back of that stunning 3-2 defeat at the hands of Cagliari over the weekend, Fonseca’s squad have shown a host of issues at the back. Including shipping six goals in their last two matchups on the road, it should be noted that Roma have recorded just a single clean sheet in their last 10 straight matchups.

Team News

After making his return from a knee injury last weekend, former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling could be in line for a start on Thursday night.

However, with Gianluca Mancini set to serve a suspension for the first-leg, Roma will also be without former Chelsea winger Pedro due to a thigh strain.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides last faced off in a competitive meeting back in 2008, Manchester United picked up a 1-0 win.
    • The Reds have won each of their last four matchups at Old Trafford by an aggregate score of 8-2.
    • Thursday’s hosts have also lost just one of their previous 21 straight contests across all formats, a run that stems back to the end of January.
    • Roma have recorded just a single clean sheet in any of their last 10 straight matchups across all formats.
    • Each of I Giallorossi’s last five matchups on the road have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    While Manchester United might have been disappointed to have only collected a point against Leeds last weekend, The Reds should be confident of picking up a crucial advantage on Thursday night. With just a single defeat to their name in any of their last 21 straight contests, a struggling Roma might face another stern test at an empty Old Trafford. Last seen getting hit with a shock 3-2 defeat away at Cagliari, the Italian outfit have gained a reputation for their extended issues at the back. With Manchester United winning each of their last four straight contests on home soil, we’re backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to land themselves an early advantage in midweek.

    Verdict: Manchester United win & over 1.5 goals

    Best Odds: 19/20

    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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