On May 11th, Manchester United will welcome Celta Vigo to Old Trafford of their Europa League semi final. After their 1-0 away win in the first leg, Manchester United sit in a commanding position and are poised to go to the final, but Celta Vigo will look to pull off the upset.
Jose Mourinho has publicly said that he is focusing his attention on this competition, as he feels it is his teams best chance to get Champions League football. That switch in focus has shown in their league form, as they have not won any of their last three league matches, including their loss to Arsenal on Sunday. They’ll have to hope they can quickly turn up their form to beat Celta Vigo and reach the final.
Celta Vigo currently sit 12th in La Liga, safe from relegation but outside of the European race, so the Europa League is their main focus as well. They have their work cut out for them though, as they have to come out and beat this dangerous United team after their loss at home in the first leg.
Manchester United have some injury issues, but could get a boost depending on the fitness of Marcus Rashford. Rashford is expected to undergo a late fitness test before the match to see whether he will be able to be back to punish Celta Vigo again. After that, United are expected to be missing Luke Shaw and will be without Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ashley Young, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Manchester United: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
In Manchester United’s fantastic summer of 2016, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was arguably the best player they signed. He hasn’t had the best debut season in the Premier League, but he has shined for Mourinho in Europe. The Armenian has scored five goals in 666 minutes of action in the Europa League, more goals than he’s scored in 1233 minutes of Premier League play, according to WhoScored.com. While he has struggled at times this season, Mkhitaryan has a lot of ability. United will likely only need one or two goals to go through, and the 28 year-old can provide those moments.
Celta Vigo: Iago Aspas
Celta have had a disappointing league campaign, but Iago Aspas has been a huge bright spot. The Spaniard has scored 17 goals in La Liga this season, on top of a solid five goals in the Europa League. Celta Vigo need to score once to force the tie to extra time and need to score twice to win it. Aspas has been their only consistent source of goals this season and will likely need to call on him again if they are to reach the Europa League final.
Manchester United really should have this tie in the bag. The game is set up perfectly for United to hit Celta Vigo on the counter attack and finish the game in one quick move. Celta Vigo have to get the balance between defending and attacking perfect if they are to go through. If they get it wrong for even a second, it could be catastrophic.