Manchester United is 180 minutes away from securing a place in the Europa League final as we face Italian side Roma at the semi-final stages of the competition. The first leg takes place at Old Trafford on Thursday evening and kicks off at 20:00PM BST. It can be watched live on BT Sport 2 in the UK with coverage starting at 19:15PM.
This will be United’s fifth semi-final since the start of 2020. However, we have not progressed to the final in that time. It is the second consecutive year that we have reached this stage of the competition having lost out previously to Sevilla last year.
The Red Devils have been in a great form during this Europa League campaign following our exit in the Champions League back in December. We had knocked out both Spanish sides Granada and Real Soceidad with 4-0 aggregate wins. In between this, we had overcome Italian side AC Milan.
Though we have lost four semi-finals under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær in his time so far at the club. United are considered one of the favourites to go and win the tournament. We last won the competition back in 2017, when we beat Ajax 2-0 in the final.
United arrives into this tie off the back of our 0-0 draw against Leeds in the Premier League this past Sunday. We are still on course for Champions League qualification for next season. The gap between us and league leaders Manchester City is now 10 points. The talk of being title challengers is now in the distant past. We did extend our unbeaten away league record to 24 games.
Bruno Fernandes is one player that likes the Europa League. He has scored 17 goals and 11 assists from 30 games in the competition for both United and former club Sporting Lisbon.
We will face Roma twice within the next 7 days with a league against our rivals Liverpool sandwiched in between as we attempt to overcome more semi-final heartache and reach the final in Gdansk on May 26th.
Manchester United Team News
As for United, we will be without long-term absentees Anthony Martial and Phil Jones due to knee problems. Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are likely to return to the starting eleven after all three served their one match suspension against Granada in the previous round.
Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani who were not in the starting eleven game against Leeds are expected to feature from start. Mason Greenwood and Daniel James would likely be on the bench because of this. Marcus Rashford who overcame his foot injury to play against Leeds should line up in the attack with Cavani.
Manchester United’s Predicted Lineup
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford; and Cavani.
Since the return of the Europa League back in February, Roma’s domestic form has taken a downturn. They lost at the weekend 3-2 to relegation battlers Cagliari. This comes after losing to Torino the previous week. Manager Paulo Fonseca knows in order to save his job is by winning the Europa League.
Fonseca will be concerned that his side is not able to produce the same displays at home when away from the Stadio Olimpico. They have now won just one of their last eight league matches on the road.
The form of striker Edin Dzeko has taken a tumble following his aborted attempt to leave the club and recovery from covid-19. He has not scored in his last 12 appearances in Serie A. Dzeko mentioned in the buildup to the game that United are the favourites to progress.
Roma have done well so far in their Europa League campaign as they topped Group A. In the knockout rounds, they have dispatched their opponents with ease. They have achieved 5 wins from the last six in the competition.
Roma Team News
Former United player Chris Smalling is expected to be in the starting eleven having returned from injury at the weekend. He is a welcome boost for manager Paulo Fonseca as central defender Gianluca Mancini misses the first leg due to suspension. Leonardo Spinazzola and Stephan El Shaarawy are expected to feature.
Roma will be without the services of Pedro, who used to play for Chelsea is out with a thigh strain. Whilst, Riccardo Calafiori might miss out as well as he is struggling with the same injury as Pedro.
Manchester United Europa League form: WDDWWW
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWWWWD
Roma Europa League form: WWWWWD
Roma form (all competitions): WWDLDL
- This will be the seventh meeting between Manchester United and Roma in European competition, while the Red Devils have only lost one of the previous six (W4 D1) – all of which have been in the UEFA Champions League. (source: Opta)
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last 12 games against Italian opponents in European competition. (source: Opta)
- Manchester United haven’t lost at home in a European semi-final since April 1997 (0-1 v Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League), winning four and drawing three of their last seven such games. (source: Opta)
Roma’s has had defensive vulnerabilities all season just like United has. However, we have an abundance of attacking quality to open the opposition with counter-attacking football, which is where we are most effective. Confidence will be high amongst the United players as we seek to achieve a lead in the first leg.
Manchester United 2-0 Roma