Who: Manchester United vs FC Astana
When: Thursday, September 19th @ 03:00 pm ET
Line: Manchester United -530 | Draw +530 | San Jose+1500
Manchester United look to get back towards firing on all cylinders at FC Astana’s expense in their UEFA Europa League kick-off on Thursday. Of course, the narrow win over Leicester City helps them breathe a sigh of relief, but the gruelling test means changes are inevitable.
Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated that he’ll rotate the side to play those not appearing regularly throughout the Europa League group stages. I think we can expect their bright young talent to take the centre-stage against the unpredictable Astana well capable of producing a shocker.
Manchester United Predicted Starting XI
Romero, Young, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo, Fred, Pereira, Chong, Mata, James, Greenwood.
United have caught the injury bug early onto the season, with Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Diogo Dalot all missing the weekend game. They won’t make the game on Thursday, while neither will Luke Shaw, who’s still recovering from his own injury sustained last month.
FC Astana Predicted Starting XI
Eric, Rukavina, Postnikov, Simunovic, Shomko, Mayewski, Logvinenko, Tomasav, Sigurjonsson, Rotariu, Murtazayev.
Astana, meanwhile, have a clean bill of health even whilst toughing it out in the Kazakhstan Premier League more than halfway through their own season.
Manchester United vs FC Astana Match Preview
After a rather dreamy season in the Champions League, Manchester United find themselves back into the Europa League pit. Of course, they don’t relish playing in Thursday nights especially when more important weekend Premier League fixtures lie await.
OGS will, however, use this to give the youngsters their opportunities to impress fans. Tahith Chong added a fiery spark of energy in his cameo against Leicester, which deserves him a start against Astana. With his dribbling technique and ability to thread in creative passes, I think he’ll treat us to something delightful.
Moreover, Mason Greenwood’s been begging to be given bigger opportunities with his outstanding work in youth level as well. When you look at how he bagged 26 goals in the youth scene last season from just 30 appearances, it’s understandable why he’s being lauded as the second coming of Robin van Persie.
The 17-year-old will have the perfect chance to showcase his deadly goal-scoring traits against Astana, with his brisk movement and impressive link-up play deemed to get Old Trafford on its feet. The electric Angel Gomes could also get an outing after not appearing since his pre-season heroics against Tottenham Hotspur.
Moreover, the dependable Axel Tuanzebe warrants a start, while Daniel James can also make his European debut. Regardless, it’ll be a pretty young team due to the injuries. Considering the Leicester match was a drab, I think we can expect United to go all guns blazing with fiery, quick-paced attacks to dazzle the fans.
However, Astana are no shy minnows themselves. They’ve scored the third-most goals in the Kazakhstan Premier League this season, only conceding the second-least number as well. A compact side hard to break down as well as terrifying on swift-breaks, they’ll be a thorn for United’s youngsters.
With spirited, physical attackers like Roman Murtazayev, Marin Tomasov, Dorin Rotariu, the Kazakhstan side’s well-planned attacks as well as threatening aerial ability makes them a thorn to defend against. OGS might be forced to play a “second-string” side, but best be careful set his side up properly or risk an early humiliation.
It won’t be the easiest and Astana can make life difficult with their rigid shape, but I think United should pick up a hard-fought 2-0 win to start their Europa League campaign.