Manchester United vs AstanaUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Sep 19, 2019, Old Trafford
THE Europa League isn't where Manchester United want to be but as long as they're there and as long as there's place in next season's Champions League up for grabs again then they'll be giving Europe's second tier competition a good shot.
Drawn alongside tonight's opponents Astana, AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade shouldn't have too much trouble navigating a safe passage through Group L although there are potentially some tricky trips in there.
So it's at Old Trafford where United will need to make hay and they should make light work of the visitors from Kazakhstan.
Astana fell at the first hurdle of Champions League qualifying, losing to CFR Cluj 3-2 on aggregate, they've subsequently disposed of teams from Andorra, Malta and Belarus to secure their berth in the group stages. They failed to get out of their group in last years edition, finishing third, and will do well do better that this season.
So it all looks set for a comfortbale win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men. They've made an indifferent start to the season. Impressive wins over Chelsea and Leicester at home have been offest by draws with Wolves, Southampton and a surprise defeat to Crystal Palace in Manchester. It leaves them seven points off the pace after only five matches.
After that 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening day the Red Devils have only scored four in four, a single goal in each match, but they should rack up a few tonight.
17-year-old Mason Greenwood and England under-21 defender Axel Tuanzebe will be given a start. It's the former that has the United most excited. His manager has hailed him as the “one of the best finishers“ he has seen.
The youngster impressed in the summer, scoring in pre-season victories over Inter Milan and Leeds and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added that he has “matured in the last six months”. Greenwood is a handy 7/5 to score anytime.
With United as short as 1/4 to win the match there won't be many backes on the outright market, however they can be Bakced at 8/11 to be winning at half time-full time and 5/6 to win to nil.
United have been impressive enough at the back since the arrival of Harry Maguire, conceding just four in the league – the joint lowest alongside Liverpool and Leicester – so a win to nil at 5/6 looks a good option.
This UEFA Europa League match between Manchester United and Astana will be played on Sep 19, 2019 and kick off at 20:00