Manchester United are favourites to win the Europa League, according to leading sportsbooks. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team played strong football post-restart and go into Wednesday night’s game at Old Trafford up 5-0 after the first leg in Austria against LASK Linz.
Remarkably, Manchester United won 5-0 in the first leg with LASK Linz somehow conceding goals galore. It was uncharacteristic of the Austrians who didn’t look that bad in spite of conceding five times. Manchester United’s Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, and Andreas Pereira all found the back of the net in the first leg. Two of the five goals came after the 90-minute mark.
LASK Linz finished the Austrian Bundesliga season in fourth place. Their final three matches in the competition all ended in losses in the division’s championship round. Compared to Manchester United, LASK Linz have had a significant amount of time off and haven’t played since July 5th.
The Red Devils half one foot in the next round and can see out the second leg at home to gain progression to the quarterfinals. The club’s route to the semifinals looks promising as the quarterfinals will see either Istanbul Basaksehir or FC Copenhagen waiting for them on August 10th.
Solskjaer’s team finished the Premier League season strongly ending up third. They claimed a final day of the season 2-0 win over Leicester City to obtain Champions League football. The Red Devils did not lose a game in their last six Premier League fixtures. Four of those six fixtures ended in Manchester United wins. Three of those four victories ended in wins to nil.
LASK Linz were not a strong goal scoring team during the season. Two of their last three games in the Austrian Bundesliga season ended in losses to nil. The recent championship round of the league saw them score just 17 goals in 10 games while conceding 17.
The Austrians started the Europa League at the playoff round after FC Basel knocked them from the Champions League qualifying rounds. They defeated Club Brugge 3-1 on aggregate to make the group stage before topping their group with a +7-goal difference. The Austrians bested Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven and Rosenborg. It was a strong group with LASK Linz impressing. Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford will be the end of the line, however.
Solskjaer has all of his most important attacking players available to play on Wednesday night. He is likely to play Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford together in attack with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as the creative passers in midfield. Solskjaer could then deploy Nemanja Matic or Fred as the defensive lynchpin for the three-man midfield.
Manchester United do have three defenders set to miss the fixture at Old Trafford. None of the three should affect the Red Devils and their performance. Full-backs Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw are out until next season. Shaw has an ankle injury that has him sidelined. Centre-back Phil Jones is also on the injured list and will miss the game.
If LASK Linz want to progress to the quarterfinals, which is unlikely to occur, they have to have a go at Manchester United’s defence. Based on the club’s final three games of the domestic campaign, they should struggle to score. LASK Linz have also had a few weeks off of play while Manchester United will have had just a week and a half off by the time they kick off. Manchester United have everything in the palms of their hands. They even have room to slip up against the Austrians and still move on.
Bruno Fernandes to score anytime - BET NOW
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes scored eight goals in 14 Premier League games for Manchester United. As great as that sounds, it should be remembered that half of those goals came from penalties. Fernandes scored two additional penalties for Manchester United in the FA Cup and Europa League respectively. If Manchester United get a penalty it will be Fernandes who takes it. Expect him to go to the goalkeeper’s right when he steps up to the spot.
Manchester United to win to nil - BET NOW
The last time these sides met, Manchester United romped to a 5-0 win. The last two goals shouldn’t have been scored as LASK Linz complete fell apart in the 90th minute. Two of LASK Linz last three Bundesliga championship round matches finished in losses to nil. Five of Manchester United’s last nine Premier League matches ended in wins to nil. That includes their final game of the campaign versus Leicester City.
Manchester United to score a penalty - BET NOW
Manchester United have seen a number of penalties rightfully and wrongfully awarded to them since the Premier League restarted in June. Manchester United converted 16 of their 20, spot kicks for an 80 percent success rate. Fernandes converted all six of his penalty attempts after arriving in January. If the Red Devils get a penalty, expect Fernandes to stroke it home. They could get a 21st penalty in all competitions awarded to them on Wednesday.
The Europa League second leg between Manchester United and LASK Linz is just a formality. The Red Devils should get through to the quarterfinals without trouble. From there, they look to have a favourable tie against either Turkish Super Lig champions Istanbul Basaksehir or Denmark’s FC Copenhagen. It looks like Manchester United will have an easy route to the semifinals.
Manchester United are leading sportsbooks’ favourite to win the Europa League. They are followed by Inter Milan. A clash between those two teams in the semifinals or final would make for an exciting game. Of course, both sides must win this week to reach the semifinals. Manchester United should have no issue winning against LASK Linz and moving on.
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Old Trafford is the ground hosting Man Utd vs LASK
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The match between Man Utd vs LASK kicks-off at 20:00 UK time on Wednesday 5th August