Manchester United vs Anderlecht: Europa League Quarter-Final Preview

Manchester United vs Anderlecht: Europa League Quarter-Final Preview

Manchester United are hoping to progress to the Europa League semi-final on Thursday evening when they take on Anderlecht.

Match details:

Date: Thursday 20 April
Kick-off: 20:05
Venue: Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho’s side will play hosts to Belgian champions Anderlecht at Old Trafford on Thursday evening in the Europa League quarter-final.

Last week’s encounter ended in a 1-1 draw but United were the dominant side and would have felt disappointed not to have come away with a victory.

They still have a crucial away goal on their side and they will go into the tie at Old Trafford as favourites.

Anderlecht are not to be written off though, as they showed last week they are unwilling to bow down and accept defeat.

They had just one shot on target in the 1-1 draw but it was all that was necessary and they will be looking to showcase a similarly clinical display in Manchester.

Team News

Manchester United

There are still several absentees for United but they have shown they are capable of coping without centre-back duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in recent weeks.

They will have to do the same on Thursday and neither will be available.

Juan Mata is also still out with a groin injury and Wayne Rooney is unlikely to recover in time from the ankle injury which has seen the skipper sidelined.

Anderlecht

Keeper Rubén Martínez picked up a calf injury last week and he is a doubt to feature for the visitors while right-back Andy Nájar is also expected to remain absent.

Key Men

Manchester United

Marcus Rashford: The youngster was sensational against Chelsea on the weekend and his youthful energy and pace on the counter-attack could be crucial if the tie goes to extra-time on Thursday evening.

Anderlecht

Leander Dendoncker: The defensive midfielder was one of Anderlecht’s key men last week in his role as a holding midfielder but he also knicked the all-important equaliser too.
If the Belgians stand any chance of progressing they will need to keep United out of harm’s way for at least the first 45 minutes and his role will be crucial in doing so.

Stats

  • Of players who have scored at least two goals, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (134) has a better minutes-per-goal rate than Mkhitaryan (212) for Manchester United in all competitions this season.
  • United lost five European away games in a row before recording their current run of four unbeaten away trips in Europe
  • Leander Dendoncker’s goal was Anderlecht’s only shot on target in the last fixture
  • Since Mourinho last competed in the Europa League (2003) he has won two Champions League titles.
  • Anderlecht have won eight of their 13 Europa League games this season (D3, L2.)

Prediction

Anderlecht’s defensive solidity made for an interesting contest in the last encounter but United were much more dominant than expected. They will be full of confidence following their 2-0 victory over Chelsea on the weekend so anything other than a win at Old Trafford for United on Thursday would be a surprise.

Manchester United 2-0 (3-1 on agg) Anderlecht