The second leg of Manchester United’s Europa League Round of 16 tie against Austrian outfit LASK is expected to be a formality unless something dramatic happens on Wednesday night.
Manchester United are going into the game with a 5-0 lead and it is almost impossible to visualize any scenario where LASK would give the home side a scare, despite the possibility of the Premier League giants fielding a second-string or even an Under-23 side tonight.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted that his players do not want rest but do not expect any of the big guns to take the pitch against Old Trafford.
It is likely to be an opportunity for the fringe players to make a name for themselves and some of the youngsters to catch the eye of the manager ahead of the end of the season.
LASK will hope to salvage some pride with a creditable performance after getting outplayed by the Red Devils at home in the first leg, which seems like ages ago.
Manchester United vs LASK: The path to the Round of 16
Group stage Manchester United:
19th September: Manchester United 1-0 Astana
3rd October: AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Manchester United
24th October: Partizan 0-1 Manchester United
7th November: Manchester United 3-0 Partizan
28th November: Astana 2-1 Manchester United
12th December: Manchester United 4-0 AZ Alkmaar
Round of 32 Manchester United:
20th February: Club Brugge 1-1 Manchester United
27th February: Manchester United 5-0 Club Brugge
Manchester United comfortably topped their group despite suffering a defeat at the hands of Astana. They scored handsome wins over AZ Alkmaar and Partizan at home and their record at Old Trafford allowed them to sail through the group stage, despite a few shoddy performances away from home.
The Premier League giants played against Belgian champions Club Brugge in the Round of 32 and in the first leg, they were lucky to come out with a 1-1 draw away from Belgium. But at Old Trafford, they hammered Club Brugge 5-0 to book a place in the Round of 16 of the competition.
And the 5-0 win over LASK away from home in the first leg of the last 16 tie more or less confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Group Stage LASK:
19th September: LASK 1-0 Rosenborg
3rd October: Sporting Lisbon 2-1 LASK
24th October: PSV Eindhoven 0-0 LASK
7th November: LASK 4-1 PSV Eindhoven
28th November: Rosenborg 1-2 LASK
12th December: LASK 3-0 Sporting Lisbon
Round of 32 LASK:
20th February: AZ Alkmaar 1-1 LASK
27th February: LASK 2-0 AZ Alkmaar
LASK also made easy work of a group that had more fancied European teams such as Sporting Lisbon and PSV Eindhoven. The Austrian side shocked many by topping the group while beating Sporting Lisbon and PSV at home in the group stage. Their only defeat in an away game against Sporting and they also managed to beat Rosenborg both home and away.
The Austrian side were again the underdogs in the round of 32 where they faced AZ Alkmaar. They managed a 1-1 draw in the first leg away from home and in the second leg, they scored a comfortable 2-0 win to book a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.
But their astonishing journey in Europe is set to end tonight as the 5-0 defeat at home in the first leg left them with very little chance of shocking Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Manchester United vs LASK: Head-to-head record and form guide
The match between the two sides in Austria in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie was their first-ever meeting in history. The two sides never played against each other before that game in March.
Goals from Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira helped the Red Devils to romp home 5-0 against LASK.
Manchester United are coming into the game on the back of securing Champions League qualification by finishing third in the Premier League. They beat Leicester City 2-0 on the last day of the Premier League season through goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard at the King Power Stadium.
LASK’s form has been poor and they will be arriving at Old Trafford on the back of two defeats in the Austrian Bundesliga playoffs against Rapid Wien and Red Bull Salzburg. They also suffered a point deduction ahead of the playoffs for breaking the new protocols in the light of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Manchester United vs LASK: Recent form
Manchester United form in the last five games in all competitions: D-W-L-D-W
LASK form in the last five games in all competitions: W-W-L-L-L
Manchester United vs LASK: Team news
The Red Devils will be without defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw due to injuries and the duo will only be fit for the start of next season. The Premier League giants have include youngsters Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi in their Europa League squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated that a similar side to the one that beat LASK 5-0 in the first leg will take the pitch on Wednesday night. Jesse Lingard has already been confirmed to start and a few more fringe players such as Juan Mata, Daniel James and Fred could also get their opportunities.
Manchester United vs LASK: Predicted XI:
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Sergio Romero; Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi, Eric Bailly, Brandon Williams, Fred, Scott McTominay, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Odion Ighalo.
Manchester United vs LASK: Prediction
The Premier League giants have the tie in their bag after beating LASK 5-0 away from home in the first leg. Old Gunnar Solskjaer will ring in the changes and some of the fringe players and youngsters will get their opportunity at Old Trafford tonight.
LASK can get at a young defence, if Solskjaer chooses to play Teden Mengi, Ethan Laird and Brandon Williams, but the English outfit should still have more than enough quality on the pitch to beat the Austrian outfit.
A defeat for Manchester United won’t come as a shock as well as some of the players do lack match sharpness. But ahead of the game, they still start as favourites to beat LASK at Old Trafford.
Manchester United vs LASK verdict: 3-0