It’s a classic case of David v Goliath on paper when Midtjylland take on the mighty Manchester United on Thursday evening at the 11,800 capacity MCH Arena, in Jutland.
FC Midtjylland, formed as a merger of Ikast FS and Herning Fremad BK in 1999, the year when Man United won an historic treble. The Danish champions, as it would seem, are already familiar with the other Manchester outfit, Man City, from their 2008/09 UEFA Cup meeting which they lost 4-2 on penalties after a couple of 1-0 wins, one for either side. Having managed to qualify from a fairly tricky group, finishing second behind Napoli, the Danes will look to cause a sensational upset when they host an out-of-sorts Manchester United. Run based on comprehensive statistical analysis, player contribution and numbers – it will be interesting to see how their meticulous approach to winning games fares against one of the favourites to win the competition.
For Manchester United, it was one defeat too many against Sunderland in the weekend as a result of which they failed to close the gap between themselves and one of the four Champions League spots. Louis Van Gaal, although, mentioned about the alternate route to qualifying for the Champions League stages next season, which is by winning this year’s Europa League competition – indicating the fact that this tournament won’t be taken lightly by the Red Devils. This being their first meeting with the club from Denmark, it is safe to say that Manchester United are expected to be wary of and even nervous about the game and the opposition, given their general inconsistencies and the recent wobbly run in terms of results.
Petter Andersson will be the only notable absentee, with a knee injury – while the rest of the squad are fully fit to face United.
Louis Van Gaal has a host of injuries to deal with at the moment, with Darmian the latest injury setback from the injury he suffered during the weekend. Rojo, Jones and Schweinsteiger are still out sidelined due to injury issues of varying degrees as United will have to rely on their youngsters to deliver for the foreseeable future.
- a are without a victory in four European games (D1 L3).
- United failed to win away in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage (D1 L2).
- They are on a three-game losing streak in the UEFA Europa League.
Key Men Comparison
Tim Sparv (FC Midtjylland) v Juan Mata (Manchester United)
It’s a fairytale game as far as Tim Sparv is concerned as the midfielder is facing the prospect of coming up against the team he fervently supported as a kid. The midfielder is one of Midtjylland’s key players and his battles in the midfield with his counterparts in red shirts can go a long way in having an influence on the outcome of the game.
When Juan Mata is not writing 500 word long articles describing the weekend games, he plays for Manchester United in the middle of the park and that’s where he needs to be playing on a regular basis if he were to have a real impact on United’s much criticised attacking play this season. With a wealth of experience playing in Europe under his belt, his role at United will be crucial to Manchester United’s own venture in the Europa League this campaign.
Man United to bounce back to winning ways in Denmark.
FC Midtjylland 0-2 Manchester United