Manchester United has one foot in the Europa League final as we face Roma in the second leg of the semi-final at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening. The game kicks off at 20:00PM BST. It can be watched live on BT Sport 2 with coverage starting at 19:15PM.
The two clubs’ preparation for this game has not had the ideal circumstances. United had seen their game against Liverpool last Sunday postponed due to the fan protests. Whilst Roma suffered another league defeat, which was their third successive defeat in a row.
After a disappointing first half last week, two goals from Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani helped United come from behind to go on our way to secure a 6-2 victory and effectively book our place in the final. The scoreline did not equal the 7-1 thumping we had against the same side back in 2007 during the Champions League. However, it was all the more impressive due to the performances of the players during the second half.
Should United get over the line, then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be a happy man as we will break four consecutive defeats in semi-finals. We had failed at this stage of the competition last year when we were knocked out by eventual winners Sevilla. We are now firm favourites to win the tournament, which would be our first success since winning the Europa League back in 2017.
Though the game against Liverpool did not go ahead, the players have had a full week of rest and training between the two legs. Bruno Fernandes who enjoys this competition has registered 19 goals in his last 31 games. He will want to add to his tally during the second leg and the final as well.
Manchester United Team News
Other than long-term absentees Anthony Martial and Phil Jones, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has a full-strength squad to choose from. Dean Henderson and Daniel James who last featured in the league game against Leeds United and were not selected for the first leg will be pushing for a starting place. Mason Greenwood who came on the first leg to seal the victory with a goal will be hoping for more game time in the second leg and stake his claim for a spot in the eleven for the final.
Manchester United’s Predicted Lineup
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba, and Greenwood.
The task facing Roma to overcome the four-goal deficit looks improbable as they have hit their worst run of form. Since returning Europa League action back in February, their domestic form has taken a slide in the wrong direction. They lost 2-0 to mid-table Sampdoria last weekend. This had previously followed the 3-2 defeat to relegation battlers Cagliari. Manager Paulo Fonseca had been hoping that success in the Europa League would enable him to extend his stay at the club.
The defeat in the first leg to United and subsequent defeat in the league has meant the club decided to announce that Fonseca will be leaving at the end of the season. They have since appointed our former manager Jose Mourinho from next season onwards.
Defender Gianluca Mancini had admitted that Roma had deserved to lose their two games. He had also issued an apology to the fans. Roma fans had seen their hopes of reaching a European final in 30 years dashed within the second half of the first leg.
Mancini added that they have several first team players missing at the moment which has contributed to their downfall in form. These injuries meant that Roma became the first side to make three substitutes in the first half of the Europa League game as players succumbed to injuries at Old Trafford.
The first leg ended in disaster for Roma and their defeat in the league in the weekend means they have only won one of their last nine away games. They have much better at home though and will be fighting to restore pride amongst their fans in second leg.
Roma Team News
Roma’s have a number of injured players out. This has been added to further with goalkeeper Pau Lopez out for the season. He had suffered a shoulder injury during the first leg. Antonio Mirante who replaced Lopez is expected to be given the nod again.
Doubts remain over Jordan Veretout and Leonardo Spinazzola making the second leg after withdrawing during the game last week through injury. They are also without Amadou Diawara and Carles Perez who did not feature against Sampdoria. Bruno Peres is expected to feature after recovering from the knock he sustained. Gianluca Mancini will return having served his one match European ban last week.
Manchester United Europa League form: DDWWWW
Manchester United form (all competitions): WWWWDW
Roma Europa League form: WWWWDL
Roma form (all competitions): DLDLLL
- Manchester United have won five of their last six meetings with Roma in all competitions, drawing the other 1-1 in December 2007. (source: Opta)
- Manchester United have won each of their last four UEFA Europa League games, last winning five successive matches in all European competition in May 2011, before losing to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. (source: Opta)
United look all but sure to reach the Europa League final come May 26th in Gdansk, Poland. It would be a catastrophe if we did not do this given our four goal lead from the first leg. With the rearranged fixture of Liverpool due to take place next week, Ole may decide to rest a few key players. The players will be confident after last week’s victory. A full week of rest between games means we should be able to take advantage of a Roma side hit by injuries.
Roma 1-2 Manchester United